Getting through the Holidays
December 03, 2012
So many of my clients who have anxiety or depression have a difficult time navigating the daily challenges of life. So when you add the Holiday Season to the mix (which really begins around Thanksgiving), levels of stress, anxiety, and depression can increase significantly and make life even harder. We know it is impossible to completely escape the holiday frenzy no matter which religion you practice, but there are things you can do to reduce the pressure that you may be feeling. Here are some tips to help you get through the end of the year:
– Don’t assume that everyone else is having a jolly old time. Most people find this time of the year incredibly difficult. So don’t look at appearances — almost everyone you know would frequently like to escape the holiday “joy.”
– Don’t place such an emphasis on material gifts — bigger and more expensive doesn’t mean better.
– Try to set realistic expectations for yourself. If you can’t entertain due to your stress level or can’t spend a great deal of time at other entertaining venues, be gentle with yourself and go to festivities for shorter periods of time. Or if you can’t attend some occasions, then that is fine also.
– Don’t assume that everyone is heavily partying. Many people don’t attend many holiday celebrations. Just don’t assume anything about anyone else.
– Don’t assume every one is partnered off around Christmas and New Year’s. Many people are not in a relationship and find the holidays a particularly rough time. Again, realize many people do not have a dazzling New Year’s celebration. Staying home and watching a movie with a friend can be a very good way to spend New Year’s. There is not a right or wrong way to celebrate a holiday — everyone does something different.
– Realize that it is normal to become depressed during this time of year — most people look at others and feel everyone else is having a grand old time. That it not the case.
-We know that depression and anxiety can make this time of year exceptionally hard. But we urge you to be more gentle with yourself and to take the time to be kinder to yourself. And also explain to those closest to you if you are having a harder time. You don’t need to dwell on your difficulties with others, but you can remind them that this time of year can be hard for you. Also, you are allowed to indulge in temporary pity parties but then make sure you spend time with someone or doing something that gives you pleasure. And we promise you that you will get through this year and are hopeful that improved health and decreased pain are in your future.
Nancy Fish, LCSWMy clinical practice includes clients requiring treatment for depression, anxiety, anger management, chronic illness, chronic pain, special needs issues and grief. I work with individuals, couples, and families.