Updated: Dec 14, 2022
The holiday season is marketed as a time to spend with loved ones, be grateful for the past year, and create fond memories. However, this stereo-typical marketing is often obliviate that for some individuals the holidays can be a time of sadness, anger, or even guilt. If you are experiencing a wave of emotions this holiday season, you are not alone.
First, give yourself some grace and compassion during this time. It is normal for individuals to feel intense emotions during the holidays. Why? It can bring more awareness of memories, financial challenges, increased interactions or isolation, navigating family dynamics, exposure to more food/drugs, high expectations, grief, and much more.
Try this activity to understand how you plan to navigate the holidays.
First, find a piece of paper and pen and answer the below questions:
One way to uncover what is prompting your intense holiday emotions is to reflect.
Next, start writing about which of the area(s) resonates most with you?
(Memories, finance challenges, isolation, increased interactions, family dynamics, food, drugs, high expectations, grief, etc. )
Then, try to answer the below questions.
-Was I aware that this area(s) of the holidays were impacting my emotions/mood?
-What are the emotions am I experiencing? [Google Emotions Wheel]
-What thoughts am I having about this area?
What facts do I have to support these thoughts?
What are 3 alternatives thoughts?
What would you tell a friend who had these thoughts? Finally, once you have reflected on your emotions and thoughts around the holiday season, try to set realistic goals and expectations to navigate this season.
Remember, the holiday season looks different for everyone and you can create what feels right for you.
Written by Noel Kwiat, Graduate Therapist Intern
If you or someone you know needs extra support this holiday season, we have therapists with immediate availability. Learn more about our services by connecting with us via email or phone.