Like it or not, ready or not, once again they are coming. Before we’ve even processed Labor Day, we see the decorations going up for Halloween. Halloween is not even over and already there are stuffed turkeys and pilgrim hats lining the shelves. And about a week before Thanksgiving we find ourselves getting confused about which holiday to prepare for because everywhere we look, we see nothing but mistletoe and fake icicles and Santa Claus.
Sometimes it seems like the media and corporate America get more excited about the holidays than we do….because we are too busy managing the anxiety and stress caused by non-stop pressures to buy more than we can afford, see people we don’t like or don’t know (or both), and eat foods we would never otherwise consider consuming just to be accommodating to great aunt Lucy who has been cooking her signature pumpkin pie-flavored raisin fruitcake since the early 1900’s…..
But this year, the holidays can be different. Each holiday season is like a milestone in our lives, when we can look back on where we were and what worked (and what didn’t) the year before and celebrate how much we’ve learned and grown in the twelve months in between.
This is why the best way to tackle the holidays this year is to examine what worked and what didn’t last year and make adjustments from there. So here are some questions to contemplate and journal about that can help make the holidays feel less like an onslaught and more like a celebration:
Where did you struggle the most during last year’s holiday gatherings (dinner table, family interactions, isolating to avoid conflict, whatever it is)?
What ideas do you have to prepare in advance for how to navigate similar challenging moments that may reoccur this year?
What kind of support did you need last year that you didn’t have that could have made a difference?
Do you have a strong support team (professional and loved ones) going into this holiday season?
If not, what can you do now – today – to add supportive others to your team?
At Southlake Counseling, we know how it feels to watch the holidays rushing headlong at us, delighting our eating disorder/anxiety/depression and terrifying us. We also know that what is great about the holidays is that they force us to take action – NOW – to protect and care for ourselves.
If you need help and support as the holiday season approaches, we invite you to contact us today. We are looking forward to partnering with you to find ways you can say “no” to holiday stress and “yes” to a celebration of love, gratitude, and life!