The holiday season can be triggering for some for a variety of reasons. It can be a lot, ranging from unresolved childhood trauma to social pressures and financial demands.
And with all the celebrations around the holidays, it can stir up a lot of feelings, some not so nice and magnify certain tensions.
Social isolation is a very real thing that has real consequences for mental and physical health. It's normal to feel lonely during this time, and it's okay to validate your feelings.
Ultimately, we are social creatures, and we thrive in social environments. Holidays are those periods in our lives we use to regenerate ourselves as part of getting ready for the new year.
Tips for coping this holiday season:
Draw up a budget
It's very easy to overspend during the holiday season. Stick to a budget; don’t go overboard trying to impress people either with expensive gifts or simply spending money all willy-nilly. But with some preparation like drawing up a budget and sticking to your financial management strategy, celebrations do not have to drain all of your resources.
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Put differences aside
Family dynamics can be tricky. Try to accept them for who they are, if they fall short of all of your expectations. It's very important to set aside any grievances you may have for an appropriate time. Also, if something goes wrong, be understanding if other people become offended or concerned. They might also be in the same boat as you.
Stick to a routine
Overeating merely makes you feel more stressed and guilty.
Before holiday dinners, have a healthy snack to prevent overindulging in cheese, alcohol, or sweets.
Eat healthy food.
Regular exercise should be a part of your everyday regimen.
Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.
Find time for yourself
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Give yourself some alone time, even 15 minutes of uninterrupted time alone could provide you the energy you need to handle everything, be it the endless dishes or nosy aunts, you will be able to handle.
Seek professional help if you suspect you need it
Despite your best efforts, you could experience persistent sadness or anxiety, body aches and pains, trouble sleeping, and irritability. Speak to your doctor or a mental health professional if these feelings persist for a time.
The most important thing is to learn to recognise your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. A little planning and a bit of positive thinking can help you find peace and joy during the holidays.