Scrooge or Santa – Why It’s Ok to Have Mixed feelings around the Holidays

You may not know this, but ask any therapist, or emergency worker, and they will tell you that  the holidays are their busy season. For many, “the most wonderful time of year” is also “ the most stressful time of year.”  Family, gifts, and traditions all can come with a wide range of virtues and vices, and here at South Denver, we wanted to give you a few helpful hints from the front lines of our office so you can better navigate the season. We are also available to talk, both before and after the holidays, depending on your needs.

Family Matters

Your first holiday season with/out (fill in the blank) someone can be challenging. This is a common phrase thrown around the holidays; maybe it’s your first Christmas with a new baby, your first Christmas after your divorce, your first Christmas way from home, first Christmas in a new house, or a first Christmas without a loved one who has passed on. The holidays can amplify transition, and if you are going through something big, it’s best to cut yourself and those you love some slack if things don’t go perfectly.

Compassion is key. Be kind to yourself by establishing boundaries, and be kind to others by offering forgiveness. Remember that during the holidays, our schedules are thrown off, and we often eat too much, drink too much and sleep too little. Expecting everyone, including yourself, to be on your best behavior every second of every gathering is unrealistic. So, take a deep breath; you can get through it! Please talk to your counselor for the best ways for you to get through the holidays.

Spending

Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday – it is really easy to get in big trouble while buying presents this time of year. If you can, make a budget, take out some cash from the ATM, and leave the credit cards at home. If you have already overspent, make a plan to pay it off; often just having a plan can help keep this essential stress of the holidays to a minimum.

It is also perfectly ok to be reasonable about what you can afford. Your family will still know you love them, even if the celebration is small and modest.  It is easy to get carried away with the season, but trust us, you deserve better.

Traditions

Christmas Eve at Grandma’s; Christmas dinner at Uncle Steve’s; oh, and don’t forget to make Cousin Jean’s favorite cookies. It can be easy to drown head first in all of the traditions our families impose this time of year.  We have a little secret to tell you – you don’t always have to follow them. Picking and choosing is perfectly acceptable, even if your cranky relatives don’t think so.

Regain some of your sense of control, plan your own tradition, or just make some time for yourself.  You should be able to enjoy the holidays too!