10 Therapist Approved Ways To Stay Merry and Bright This Holiday Season.

by Dec 7, 2017Blogmas, Mental Health5 comments

Welcome back to Jessica Grace Blog! If you are new thank you for checking us out. On this blog we talk about topics related to behaviour, mental health, and parenting! We are currently in the middle of “Blogmas” which means that we are posting a new blog every week day from now until Christmas day. We have many exciting posts coming up talking about topics such as, grieving around the holidays, social anxiety, and surviving the holidays with children (just to name a few). Make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay up to date with all of our holiday related posts!

This time of year can be very difficult for many people. Family conflict, grief, anxiety, along with being very busy can shake up even the strongest of people. We wanted to provide you with tips that therapists recommend to their clients who are struggling. So, to write this post we asked 10 counsellors to give their recommendations on how to keep your mental health strong during the holiday season! 

We hope these tips will stop you from feeling like this during the holiday season!


1. It is ok to not feel the holly jolly emotions that are shown everywhere.

The holidays can be a tough time where we remember those we have lost. It is OK (and normal) to feel this way. Take time for yourself when you need it, and talk with a friend or loved one about how you are feeling. Kari Ann Greaves, LADC.

2. Give compassion to others.

The best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is compassion. Sometimes the holidays mean getting together with old friends and old loved ones, and for many people this means remembering old wounds or getting back into patterns that don’t necessarily feel good. Instead of pressuring yourself, try having compassion in those moments for yourself and your loved ones. Talia Camozzi, MACP, RCC.

3. Remember, family is family & friends are friends.

When we expect too much of others we set ourselves up for disappointment. Cherish whatever role someone plays in your life instead of expecting them to fulfill what you believe they should be doing. An attitude of gratitude takes practice, as new behaviours are uncomfortable at first. Practice having gratitude for your family and friends, and see how this makes a difference in your attitude! – Cat Southard, SW.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Saying yes to too much often depletes us and prevents us from truly enjoying the celebration. Prioritize which events you say yes and no to. Carve out sacred dates/times in advance so it makes it easier for you to hold firm to your boundaries. Tanya Alvarado, LMHC

5. Make time to stop and smell the roses (or eggnog?).

The holidays can be a busy time of the year between visiting family, shopping for everyone, getting the house ready, traveling, and taking family photos. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy these moments and build memories. Felicia Hurst, M.S.

The holidays go fast and expectations and future-oriented thinking can pull us out of enjoying the present moment. Make time to pull your wandering mind back to the present moment while you’re celebrating the holidays. You can do this by grounding yourself with a deep breath or a focussing on your senses. – Kimberly Dwyer, Ph.D 

6. Observe your friends and family.

If you find yourself struggling to engage with family or feel the stress rising as the next months bring family time, I wonder what you would notice about your family that you have not in the past? Are there quirks that they do or have that express joy, are they open or closed off to conversation in their body language, how do they relax throughout the day spent together? If we observe I wonder what extraordinary pieces we can learn and gain from our families? – Jessica Olguin MA LAC, LPC.

7. Journal.

Keep a pen and notepad beside your bed. Before you go to sleep jot down three things you were grateful for that day. Continue to do this daily over the holiday season. Practicing gratitude through writing helps us stay mindful of all that is good in our lives. Acknowledging what is going well helps us spread compassion and practice patience for what is not. – Cree Lambeck RP

8. Be kind to yourself.

The holidays often cause us to fall back into old habits, stress eating, comparing ourselves, wishing we could just get all the celebrating over with and then berating ourselves for not enjoying it more, and all sorts of other painful behaviours. The very best thing you can do if you notice this happening is to be kind to yourself.  – Danielle Szasz MA., LMFT  

9. Create memories, not debt.

The “stuff” when gifting becomes less and less important, especially as we recognize the joy of really being present with our family and friends. If you are intent on buying, don’t be afraid to try for experiences over things! Museum passes, local store gift cards, or social programs in your community. Carly McDade, MS.

10. Practice letting things roll off your back.

Mother-in-law makes an offensive comment? Let it roll off your back! Kids make a mess? Let it roll off your back! Husband has a rude tone when asking for something? Let it roll off your back! Be like a duck this Christmas: everything can roll like water off the duck’s back and you might find more enjoyment in the little moments.  Julia Lippert, RP.

Let us know which tip you found the most helpful in the comments below. 

Can’t wait to continue learning with you this holiday season!

 

Jess.

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