Surviving the Holidays

Now that Halloween is over, the holidays are around the corner.  Let’s talk about how to survive the holidays, without needing therapy.  The holidays can be hard for some.  If you have family, sometime spending time with them can be fun and other times it can be very difficult.  If you don’t have family, sometimes the holidays come with loneliness.  Either way, if the holidays are hard for you, here are some options.

When I work with people, I talk with them about doing things they can afford, and spending time with others as they are comfortable.  Giving trees are nice because it really helps others, and can be rewarding to do something nice around this time of year.  Volunteer organizations can also use so much help around this time.  Giving money or gifts is helpful, but giving your time if you have it is also very needed.  Churches and other organizations deliver gift baskets and gifts to families.  They need help to put the baskets together, and to get them where they need to go.  Many locations also serve holiday meals to a variety of people with different needs.  They need many hands in the kitchen to make and serve a big meal, and they can always use help.  Give your time to some of the agencies in your area.  It can help make the holidays more fun and memorable.

When it comes to home, do something that inspires you to step out of your box, and see things from a different perspective.  If you don’t decorate, try having a small tree and making ornaments to decorate it.  If you go all out, change something up.  Move things around, and put things that have good memories attached front and center.

Make some new memories, that help bring your family and friends together.  I am a firm believer in being together with people who help you feel more positive.  I don’t believe that it’s about presents and what you can get.  When I was starving in college, I spent about $5 a person on gifts that were more about the memory they signified than the actual gift.  Have a pot luck, with comfort food and sing holiday songs.  Exchange cookies while wrapping presents that will be donated.  I have so many memories of the holidays, like ice skating with my grandfather, and baking with my grandmother.  My family played cards at the holidays, so get together and play games.  Have some fun, and make new memories that will last a lifetime.

If the holidays include anniversaries of loss or sad memories, acknowledge them.   Talk about people you have lost and remember in a way that helps you get through the days.  If you struggle with family members, do you best to plan to gatherings.  Have a plan to keep your distance if you can.  If you choose not to see the person, talk with your family or other’s to explain.  The hope is that they will  understand, but if they don’t, stand your ground and do what’s best for you.

The holidays can be hard, but if you need help, please remember that there is support if you need it.  There is always someone to talk with if you need it.  1-800-273-TALK is the national crisis line that has people there to help every day of the year, even Christmas.  If you need other support, reach out in your community and get support, whether it’s counseling or just a place to go for help, there are people willing to help.  If you struggle with the holidays, get support.  You don’t have to manage alone.