Do you see the breakdown in communication after the kindness typically shown during the holidays?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, some previous research and legends suggest that there seems to be an increase in pathology after the holiday which seems to be related to a variety of factors.
In this article, I will suggest 5 ways to stay balanced during this time of year.
One of the things I have noticed as a therapist is the irritability of society after the holiday. After Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years it’s as if people go back to being careless, unforgiving, self-centered, and materialistically motivated. The compassion, kindness, and empathy experienced during the holiday season mysteriously dissipate and things go back to “normal.” Have you noticed this pattern?
For the most part, I truly believe that society is so tired by the end of the holiday that they “lose” their joy and contentment. They become zombies again on a daily basis. There is a universal irritability and desire to return to the holidays. For other people, however, some are glad it’s over so they don’t have to hurt anymore due to loss of loved ones, grief, loss etc.
When I meet with my clients/patients around this time of year, I give them a few suggestions on how to manage this time of year. The first few steps to staying balanced during this time is to:
- Abandon the fairytale view of the holiday: Most people approach the holidays from a romanticized and fantasized perspective. This often leads to overspending, overreaching, and overwhelm. There is nothing healthy about this mindset when it surpasses the typical joy of the season. Leave it behind. You’ll feel better!
- Maintain normalcy and routine: Normalcy and routine helps you feel less stressed, tired burned out, and fatigued after the holiday. To abandon your routine completely is to set yourself up for disaster in the end. It’s so difficult to get back on track and sometimes trying to get back on track can result in depressed or anxious mood and a series of other symptoms.
- Strive for healthy habits: Eating and sleeping is extremely important during this time in between shopping and visiting with family. Because holiday time comes at a difficult time of the year (the end), you are most likely feeling burned out and rushing around to pay bills, keep commitments, keep up with your job, etc. It is all stressful and can lead to a slow spiral downward if healthy habits aren’t maintained.
- Fight against fatigue and low moods: “Fighting” against feeling exhausted and depressed will entail focusing on your overall health (spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical). Self-care is important as well as time alone. Find some time to have a “downtime” period so you can collect yourself and re-organize your thoughts and feelings.
- Develop and maintain the “we’re in this together” mindset: Holiday time is stressful and everyone is fighting their own battle. In the end, we’re all in this together. Smile, compliment someone, open the door for someone, donate, etc. to make your holiday bright and someone else’s.
Where do you find yourself emotionally during this holiday season? Are you ready for the next two holidays or ready for it all to be over?
As always, I wish you well