Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays are marketed as a happy time of year, and they may be for some people, but for many the holidays are a very difficult time.   The holidays are full of nostalgia and visions of a perfect family which can bring up feelings of loss and sadness for those who did not have idyllic childhoods and happy homes.  The version of a holiday that we see in the media juxtaposed with our actual memories of holidays past or visions of holidays current can be troubling.  The stressors of visiting our families, financial constraints, travel, and other complications of the holidays can leave any person in need of extra support.

Some ideas on taking care of yourself this holiday season.  These may not apply to everyone, but they are common complaints about the holidays:

1. You are dreading visiting your family – This may sound simple, but make your stay as short as possible, a day trip if at all possible.  Many people try to squeeze in so much family time around the holiday that it becomes overwhelming.  If your family makes you feel bad, take them in small doses.

2. You are strapped for cash for presents – Tell your friends and family that you are not exchanging presents this year, that you don’t need anything from them.  For those who are special to you, write them a nice card expressing your appreciation for them.

3. You are lonely – We are told that the holidays are a time of happiness, togetherness, and cheer, but the reality is that many people lack support around the holidays.  If you are lonely, reach out to others who are lonely.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a blanket drive, join a local support group, have a “friend holiday” with a buddy or two, and look around for other types of support.  Remember, you are not the only one who is lonely around the holidays so seek out others who understand.

4. You’re feeling depressed – Be kind to yourself.  You’re not the only person who feels this way at this time of year.  The weather, the overwhelming holiday cheer, and feelings from the past can creep up on anyone and turn happy into blah.  Know that it is normal, you are allowed to be sad, and it will end on January 2nd.