Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

Holidays are not always the happiest of times for everyone. If loved ones have passed during the year, the holidays are always a part of the “firsts” which is of course hard to handle. If you have to work and are unable to get to your family or friends is also difficult. When feeling down and having to attend multiple functions can be overwhelming and can lead to toxic relationships. In this post, I will identify 5 ways to make the holidays more uplifting and hopefully not too stressful for you.

Say “no” if it’s getting too much.

It is ok to say no and not to attend all the holiday functions that are you are invited to. If you have too much going on, then you do not need to try to host a party or ask to bring a dish to a party. Try to set boundaries on how many parties you can actually attend. However, if you do have some social anxiety and feel the need to get out of the house and meet people, then push yourself to attend 1 or 2 more parties that you normally would.

Save money, if you do not have it.

During the holidays, we tend to spend more money on decorations, gifts, traveling, etc. Being able to identify who you should actually buy gifts for is important when saving money. Does your boss need a gift from you? Or your co-worker? Being able to budget and identify how much money you are actually able to spend prior to the holidays is key. Being aware of who you need to get presents for, what travel plans you have to make, and what decorations you have to buy is necessary in being able to save money and not overspend during the holiday season.

Walk away from conversations.

There are times when we are stuck talking to friends or family members that are just too toxic for us. Being able to walk away from an unwanted conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable is completely acceptable. Removing yourself from unhealthy relationships and conversations can help change your mood too. You are not forced to sit and talk to someone that you are not interested in talking to.

Remember the ones who have passed.

I feel like this one is hard, as if any loved ones have passed during the year and celebrating the holidays without them. It is ok to be sad and show emotions about missing them; but also remember them throughout the holidays. Maybe at the dinner table, set a specific place for them, talk about your favorite memories of them with the people around you, donate or volunteer at their favorite charities, or continuing traditions that they started or starting your own to remember them.

You do not have to be alone.

Being alone during the holidays is always hard. But if for some reason you are not able to spend the holidays with your family, be honest with your friends and see if you can spend the holidays with them and their families. Putting yourself in a vulnerable situation and putting yourself out there. If you do enjoy being alone during the holidays and just relaxing, then that is fine too! Making sure that you engage in a lot of self-care and doing activities for yourself. Maybe even finding a volunteer opportunity.

You are not alone during this holiday season as our therapists at Symmetry Counseling are able to help you. Feel free to reach out to any of our therapists.