5 Ways To Cope If The Holidays Are Hard For You
by Dr. Jen Caudle
For many, the holidays are a joyful time! The holiday spirit is everywhere and November until January 1st is filled with food, family, gifts, parties and so much 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 the 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.
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 real and valid because they are 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 Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. She frequently appears on TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Dr. Oz Show, Fox News, HLN, the Rachael Ray Show and others. Sign up to receive her free health newsletter and follow her on social at www.drjencaudle.com and subscribe to her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/drjencaudle.