The holidays can be fun and exciting for some of us. We decorate, travel, spend time with family/friends, take time off, and celebrate the holidays. For others, it can be stressful, triggering, depressing, and cause anxiety. The holiday months can be busy and demanding while causing old wounds to resurface. Some examples of this can be; shopping, spending time with family and friends, participating in holiday gatherings, hosting your family or friends, etc. Here are some ways for you to stay healthy and true to yourself during the holidays. Feel free to customize this list and add whatever suits you.
• Maintain your boundaries. It’s okay to say no, set time limits on how long you will stay at places, and opt out of participating in festivities you don’t want to engage in. Also, consider not buying presents, etc.
• Give yourself permission to leave or remove yourself from uncomfortable situations.
• Journal out your feelings.
• Change traditions for your holidays. It does not have to look the same way every year. Don’t allow the expectations of others to change your decision.
• Don’t feel obligated to do anything (buy gifts, participate in things at work, visit people, host, cook, etc).
• Eat healthy and balanced.
• Start therapy/Continue therapy
• Continue taking your medication as prescribed
• Don’t put yourself in debt by attempting to buy gifts, cook, or decorate.
• Don’t compare yourself to the lives of others.
• Don’t compare previous years to this year. Financially, you may have been able to do more last year, but this year you can’t, or maybe in the last few years you’ve hosted the holidays but don’t feel like hosting this year. All of this is okay, stay in the present.
• Surround yourself with the people you love, feel safe around, and be supported by.
• Spend time alone as needed.
Shareela Allen, LCSW