Updated: Dec 19, 2022
For many, holidays are a joyful time and are generally filled with food, family, fun, and more. But for some, the holidays aren’t that joyful. There are many reasons why this might be the case. Some include the loss of a loved one, the inability to be with loved ones during holidays, illness, feelings of loneliness, financial concerns, stress and so much more. If this sounds familiar, consider the following:
1) Know That Your Feelings are Valid: The feelings you have during the holiday season are completely ok and valid because they are YOURS. Whatever you feel- sad, lonely, angry, upset….joy, or happiness is ok because they are your true feelings. Acknowledge your feelings and know that there is no “right” or “wrong.”
2) Skip the Holidays: Yup, I said it. You can skip the holidays if it’s not in your heart to celebrate. Instead, create an environment that’s better for you. Consider taking a trip, volunteering, or doing other activities that are important to you. What’s most important is to do things that help you through this time. So, if you need to skip the holiday, it’s ok.
3) Don’t Over-commit: Think about what you’re comfortable doing during the holidays- how many holiday parties you can attend (or not), how much money you can spend (or not), how many people you can reasonably entertain (if you’re entertaining others) and stick to your plan. Don’t over-commit or feel that you need to be everything to everyone. Keeping track of what is realistic, setting boundaries, and sticking to your plan will help reduce stress and anxiety.
4) Reach Out to Others: Consider reaching out to people that you love. It can be hard, but sometimes sharing your feelings can be helpful. Consider spending time with those who are important to you for companionship- even if not family- if you feel up to it. If not, that's ok too.
5) Take Care of Yourself: Self-care is so important, especially during the holidays. Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthy foods. But also consider doing things that you particularly love- like scheduling a spa day, reading books, or going for long hikes.
Remember, however you feel during the holidays is valid because it's YOUR feelings. Reach out to others, spend time doing activities that are enjoyable for you, set boundaries, and consider talking to friends, family, or even a therapist if the holidays get particularly tough.
Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University, tv health expert, and video creator. Sign up to receive Dr. Jen's Daily Health Tips to get daily emails (Mon-Fri) with health information you can use to live a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.