The holidays can bring up a lot of painful feelings for a lot of people. Disappointment in not having a life like the commercials, loneliness from not having family nearby or loved ones with whom to celebrate, anxiety from financial struggles, painful memories from an imperfect childhood, or renewed grief from a loss that is felt by an absence from gatherings. With a little planning ahead, the pain may be avoidable with these tips:
1) Remember that commercials and movies are fiction. Most of us do not have a Norman Rockwell life.
2) Avoid family conflict. You may need to be around that family member who drives you crazy. Keep your contact limited and cordial. This is not the time to settle a beef.
3) Let go of perfection. The right food, the right gifts, the right outfit, the right activities, the right conversation.... are not as important as just spending time together. Try to relax into the moment and enjoy it for what it is.
4) Accept painful emotions as much as you accept pleasant ones. The quickest way from pain to joy is through. Embrace, allow, experience, and move through them.
5) Prioritize your workout and sleep routines. These are two self-care basics that have a huge impact on mood and our ability to cope with challenges.
6) Seek support if you need it, whether that's a friend or a professional. Now is a time of year many people seek extra support.