Every year at 8:00 am on December 26th, I get many messages from old clients and new clients wanting to make appointments for therapy. This is because the holidays can feel very hard, even in a "normal" year. Exhaustion, emotions, and loss are running higher than ever and I expect the holiday season will be triggering for many of us this year. It's ok if you:
- feel sad at times
- cry easily
- feel many emotions at the same time
- don't feel like decorating
- do feel like decorating
- want to skip some of your usual traditions
- want to celebrate all of your usual traditions
- need/want to cut back on "holiday stuff"
- need a lot of rest
- ask for help (from a friend OR by reaching out to a therapist)
When I first became a therapist I might have attempted to offer some sort of three step plan for something like this. But I've learned that people can't be put in boxes like that. A few things I will offer: Make space for what you feel. Don't try to shove it away. Be ok with feeling a mixture of things. We are not one emotion beings. Find the good, IF you want to. Think about what you need/want, set your boundaries, and stick to them.
We can place a lot of expectations on each other during the holiday season, I think often without even meaning to. It's important to remember people are processing life in a lot of different ways right now. Let's all do our best to have grace for ourselves and each other and not add difficulty and conflict to an already trying time.
It might be a great time to reach out to a friend who has had an exceptionally tough time this year. Things like this can feel a little weird. But I can almost guarantee that your friend will be grateful. We can all use a little support more than ever before:)
Some more posts that might be helpful when thinking about this topic: