In the mental health profession, we sometimes refer to this time of year as the “busy season.” The holidays are often a time of stress and contact with family members that we usually only see during the “holidays.” Many patients who I have not seen in months call and ask if I have a few minutes to talk, or if they could just come by for a session. Inevitably they are anxious about an upcoming holiday event or need to talk through one that just happened. “I can’t believe my sister said that” or “What if Uncle Joe is there?”
Why do we do this to ourselves? There are so many answers to this question! The reality is most of us do choose to partake in some holiday activities. We could choose to stay home alone during the holidays, throw out any cards that come our way, and refrain from joining in any holiday carols. All totally your choice, but the reality is that isolating yourself from others during this time is probably not the best solution.
Accept the holidays for what they are, what they mean to you.
The holidays can be a time to reflect on you, the life you have created for yourself, the life you want to live. Remind yourself what you are grateful for and what you love about yourself. Take a deep breath and look all around you. Breathe in the scent of pine needles, gaze at the bright lights, and think about what makes you happy. The holidays can be anything you want them to be. Are they sometimes filled with chaos, and annoying comments? Yes, but you have the power to tune out those comments, find amusement in the chaos, and find gratitude this holiday season.