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  • Katie Landry

Bah, Humbug: The Holidays Aren’t for Me

Let’s talk about the holidays. American culture has a tendency to celebrate to the max and it can feel like there’s no escaping from the pressures during this time of year. The get-togethers, the cookie-making, the gift-giving, the school performances, the decorating, the travel! The list goes on. So many of us enter the New Year feeling burned out, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Is it even possible to make it through these coming months without such detriment to our well-beings?

YES.

Here are some tips to consider as you’re navigating the weeks ahead:

Remember your values.

As a therapist, there are times when my clients enter a session and explain a feeling of losing their compass. They’re having trouble making a decision, choosing a next step, and they’re lost. In these moments, I often walk with them through a conversation about their values. What is important to them? Who is important to them? During the holidays, this same tool can be applied. For example, let’s say you find yourself hyper-focused on gift-giving and feeling overwhelmed by the expense. Take a step back and ask yourself: how much do I value giving gifts? Is gift-giving what is most important to me at this time of year? Chances are you’ll come up with an answer that reduces your feelings of overwhelm, because when we make decisions based on our values it’s always going to feel right. We get our compass back.

Take a break, say no.

During the holidays, do you ever find yourself asking or saying to yourself: “UGH. Not one more thing,” or “Do I have to?” These thoughts are your cues to slow it down. Consider looking at your calendar and finding one or two events or things-to-do that you can eliminate, so you’re able to maintain your self-care routine or engage in an activity that brings you joy or a sense of relief. It’s OK to say “no.” In fact, as a therapist I frequently encourage my clients to say “no” more often to stay consistent with their personal boundaries. (If you’d like to learn more about boundaries, consider checking out the blog below by my colleague, Montana).

https://www.clinicalcounselingassociates.org/post/learning-your-limits

Reach out. Give yourself some grace.

Let’s be honest. This time of year is a very vulnerable time for many. The holidays have a way of stirring up memories, reminding us of those we’ve loved and lost, or filling us with loneliness. It’s hard. First, know that you are not alone if you’re feeling this way. Second, take action to help yourself feel better: call a friend, reach out to find a therapist, and remember above all else to have compassion for yourself. On the other hand, if you are filled with joy during this season then find a way to share your joy: send a card to someone on your mind, check-in with a neighbor or friend who lives alone, sign up to volunteer if you have the time. You’d be surprised at how much a small gesture can mean to someone who is hurting.

In closing, remember to keep your compass, find a way to recharge, and reach out. Here’s to entering the New Year feeling whole, and ready to take on the year ahead.


By: Katie Landry

LCSW

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