While the holiday season is often full of fun gatherings and celebrating, this time of year can also be stressful and overwhelming for many reasons. It is important to be able to acknowledge this fact and then explore ways that can help you navigate through this time of year.
There are many reasons why the holidays might not be the most wonderful time of the year for people. Schedules getting uprooted, numerous social events happening, and the pressure of finding the perfect gift are just a few of them. Because of Covid, many families also grapple with the added worry around how to visit safely with our family and loved ones. It is also not uncommon for the holidays to be a triggering event for people due to trauma they experienced around/during or because of the holidays, and for those remembering the loss of a loved one the holidays can feel empty because that person is gone.
So, how do we best manage the next couple of weeks so that the holiday season doesn’t leave us feeling defeated or depressed? We need to put taking care of ourselves at the top of our Christmas list. Here are just a few ideas for how to do that:
- Guard your schedule. It’s okay to not attend every single social function that you are invited to – especially this year. With so many trying to “make up” for the holiday experiences they missed out on last year, it seems like everyone is gathering even more. While being with others is fun, it can also be stressful. Be sure to give yourself downtime throughout this busy season so that you don’t feel burned out.
- Not everyone needs a gift. One of the best things about last holiday season was that we remembered the most important part of the holidays was just being able to be together. Let’s not forget that this year. You don’t need to buy a gift for every single friend, co-worker, or even family member. Let’s remember that the gift of being together is the best gift of all.
- Don’t feel pressured to attend events that cause you stress versus joy. Not every gathering is healthy, and if you know that there are people attending who might trigger negative reactions within yourself or that the environment might be unhealthy for you, it’s okay to skip it. Family dinner at Christmas or the holiday office party are not the best times to try to unravel hurts or air grievances, but attending these events while trying to keep your emotions suppressed will only cause you more emotional trauma. Choosing to not participate in triggering situations isn’t selfish, it’s practicing self-care.
As the 2021 holiday season is ramping up to its full height, I hope that you give to yourself the same love and support that you are extending to others. Happy Holidays!