Dealing with loss and loneliness:
Feelings of loss and loneliness can be overwhelming during this time of year. The holiday season is a period where togetherness and relationships are promoted. It is normal to reflect back on your losses and feel sad. You are not alone in your feelings. Almost everyone has been in this position before. Accept how you are feeling in these moments instead of trying to suppress. Let your emotions out. Find someone to talk to that understands where you’re coming from and can offer you kind words. If you feel yourself getting in a slump, try and reflect on the positive experiences that you’ve shared with your loved ones over the years.
Dealing with a new setting:
There are many reasons as to why your normal holiday routine may be changing this year. Is this your first time not traveling home? Are you spending the holiday with your significant other’s family? Whatever the case may be, it is important to recognize that moving away from your holiday norm can be stressful. Accept that things will be different. Do not get consumed in trying to create an exact replica of your standard holiday experience. It is impossible for things to be exactly the same and striving for this almost always leads to more unnecessary stress. If you’re doing something new this season, take the time to sit back and objectively observe. You may be surprised to find that you enjoy some of the new things introduced.
Dealing with relatives:
Almost everyone has at least one person in their family skilled at tap dancing on their nerves. You likely don’t agree with their opinions or behavior, but they are still family. We have all been in this position before. You may go throughout your year avoiding these people, but it is nearly impossible to do so during the holiday season. Go into your gathering with realistic expectations. Do not expect huge changes and grand epiphanies. Learn the difference between accepting and agreeing. Know that you can accept your family members as they are without having to agree with how they carry themselves. If there is a major grievance between you and a member of your family, avoid bringing it up during the gathering. Wait for a less hectic time to discuss your concerns. If you find yourself in a tense situation, remember that you always have the option to remove yourself from the gathering, the room, or the conversation at hand.
If you feel like you are struggling to handle the stress that comes along with the holiday season, the therapists here at Philadelphia MFT are more than happy to assist. Do not hesitate to contact us. Enjoy your holiday and put these tips to work if you need to!
This Topic of Week was written by Malyka Cardwell, MFT.