The holiday season is often advertised as an amazing season filled with love, joy, family connection and hope for the year moving forward. Often times during this season I have a lot of people come in to see me experiencing the opposite emotions and struggling with what they “should” be feeling.
If you are feeling disconnected this holiday season, you aren’t alone. Often times family tension, financial struggles and seasonal depression kick in to make the holidays a challenging time. Being open and honest with yourself about where you are struggling is a first step in being able to work through this struggle.
One thing I suggest for all my clients is being kind to yourself during this time. Whether you struggle with the cold, gloomy weather and lack of sunlight in Wisconsin or feeling as though you don’t have as many people whom you can engage in a give and take loving relationship with, you aren’t alone and there are resources out there.
So, what do you do if you are feeling this way? There are support groups around the holiday season that are often free or limited cost to support people just like you! Doing a search to find these can help you find additional supports. Second, amp up your coping skills during this time. Engage in positive self talk, validating where you are struggling. One phrase I teach is “I’m doing the best I can, and I can do better”. We have to validate and encourage ourselves where we are before we can move forward.
Lastly, understand what is a fixable problem and what isn’t. There are things we cannot change in our lives, sometimes we aren’t able to make more money. This means we have to get creative and possibly make more homemade gifts. We can’t change other people so we may need to increase our boundaries, remind ourselves of what other’s are capable of where they are at and reframe what our idea of family is.
Understand that none of these things are easy or simple but they may be worth a try for you. And if you are struggling to implement these or struggling through this season reach out for additional support and help. If I’m not the right fit, I’ll help you find someone who is.
Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment Within LLC