It’s that time of year...again. Time to go home for the holidays. Everyone’s experience is different, yet many can relate to the stress and frustration that can come with being around family and holiday "cheer". This time of year can be especially tough for people who have experienced loss or trauma during the season. Moreso, if you have no specific religious affiliation, the overwhelming sea of red and green and holiday decorations can be overwhelming. Here are some tips:
1. Keep your routines. Continue to engage in the things you normally do. Exercise, meditate, do crossword puzzles. The season does not dictate making unnecessary changes. Sticking to your routine will help you feel grounded.
2. Celebrate and honor the ones you love. If you have lost someone, consider doing something to honor them. Make their favorite dish, play their favorite songs, share funny memories, make an ornament with their picture. Loss during the
holidays is especially difficult, so find a way to connect with your cherished memories.
3. Factor in your feelings. You’ve done this before; you know aunt Joan will say something inappropriate that will cause your blood pressure to rise. Be prepared to excuse yourself from conversations, change the subject, hang out at the kids table, exchange cringey stories by text with your best friends.
4. Remember this is time-limited. The holidays will not go on forever. It might feel like it’s been an eternity because uncle Fred keeps asking when you’re going to settle down, but the night/season will pass. Be sure to make time for things and people you enjoy, so you can look forward to them as a relieving reward for managing to make it through another fa-la-la-season. --Dr. B.