The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. Often client’s express dread for the upcoming holidays and some even mention getting headaches a couple weeks before the season starts. Many dread the holidays for different reasons but this could change with support and a willingness to change a couple of things. If you’re an adult you have more freedom to make decisions. The first question I always ask as a therapist is what do you want? It doesn’t matter what other’s think what matters is what is best for you. If you truly do not want to participate in an activity, than say so in a nice assertive manner. You might be surprised that you will get a kinder response than you think. If not, than that is their issue, not yours. Clients often also express feeling obligated to spend money they do not have or do not want to. A recommendation I have before each holiday season is to set a budget and stick to it. You may even get as detailed as to how much per person. If someone surprises you with a gift you were not expecting you are not obligated to return a gift. All that is needed is a thank you. Another reason that could make the holidays difficult is a separation or death. Again, it is up to what you really want to do. If you want to celebrate but find it difficult, talk to a therapist or someone who is supportive that will lend a listening ear. You could have a little memorial during a Christmas celebration if there was a death. If there was a separation it might help as a distraction to try a different activity or start a new tradition.
Note these are all recommendations and are not advice. You have the right to make a decision on what is best for you. I wish you all the best during this Holiday Season.
-Michelle Inauen LPC & LMFT Associate