The holidays can be a loaded season for many people. There’s an expectation for the months to be filled with holly, jolly glee. But for some it can be met with pressure, disappointment, grief, sadness or pain.
Are you someone who is feeling a bit of dread toward the “happiest time of year”?
You’re not alone.
There is an intense kind of pain that can be unlocked during seasons that are intended to be celebratory. I’ve sat with many clients over recent weeks as they have felt anxiety about the looming holiday season. All of us facing challenges or emotions as unique as we are.
“Happy” may feel hard to find. Acting like everything is good and fine may feel inauthentic. Allowing sadness to be present may feel like you’re burdening others. Maybe your circumstances have you feeling alone or out of place.
Wherever you find yourself this week and in the weeks to come, it’s okay to not feel okay.
A few tips for surviving the holidays in a hard season.
Share your struggles.
Identify someone that you feel safe sharing your experience with – whether they are physically in your presence or a phone call away. Establish a plan for a quick check-in on the days you know will be hard.
Honor your losses.
Make a plan to set aside space to feel and process your negative emotions. Whether that is an hour to cry or journal in the morning, or a way to acknowledge what you wish was different. Create space for yourself to feel.
Plan for something you can enjoy.
After you’ve allowed space to feel, it’s okay to also give yourself some buoyancy by making a plan to help lift your spirits a little. It does not have to diminish your pain to also experience moments of brevity. It actually gives you more ability to feel your emotions with depth when you can also do so with some control.
Establish healthy boundaries.
Consider what might make your holiday more manageable for you. Maybe communicate with family about things you might need- an hour to yourself, an opportunity to exercise, an early bedtime, or whatever may feel most beneficial to you.
Give yourself grace.
There’s no right or perfect way to navigate a holiday season when you’re struggling. Take steps to help yourself in this season and give yourself the grace to pivot when you recognize that you might need something different. There’s no roadmap for grief. It’s okay to reset and try again.
Counseling can be a really beneficial resource for figuring out ways to navigate your specific circumstances and hurts. If you need someone to walk with you through difficult days- giving space to feel what you feel and hold hope for you that is hard to hold for yourself, we’re here. Make an appointment with one of our counselors here.