As we are entering the much anticipated holiday season, it is important to recognize that there are many people who may not be feeling full of joy right now, and instead are feeling stressed, emotional, anxious, and quite possibly dreading the upcoming family events and celebrations. First of all, it’s 100% okay to take a step back, sit one out, or skip the decorating this year. Maybe this is your first Christmas without your loved one, maybe your loved one is spending the holidays in jail or in rehab, or maybe you have just had a wild year, and celebrating the holidays is the last thing on your mind. No matter the reason, you are entitled to your feelings, and you have every right to do whatever you need to do to care for yourself right now.
Here are some tips to help you get through the tough times (and not just during the holidays):
-Give yourself a break and take a time-out: go for a walk, listen to music, journal, practice self-care
-Process your emotions rather than ignoring them: think about what is upsetting you and why, and consider talking with someone (professional or friend) about how these feelings are impacting your well-being
-Realize that there are others dealing with this, too, and understand that you are not alone!
-Avoid any triggers that you can: this includes holiday events that you may have to attend on your own, shopping in malls that constantly remind you of the holidays, radio stations and TV channels playing Christmas-themed songs and movies
-Grant yourself permission to say “no” to any invitations that you really don’t want to accept.
-Focus on the positive: pick just one thing that makes you feel good and distracts you from the negativity, and use this to ground yourself whenever you need it
-Take things one day at a time: tomorrow is likely to be different from today, and next week is unpredictable. By only focusing on today, you can free yourself from some of the worries for tomorrow