Four Tips for Keeping the Holidays Happy (originally published on goodtherapy.org December 13, 2012)
Perhaps nothing in our lives provides as much predictable ambivalence as the onset of the holidays. On one hand, we eagerly anticipate a break from our regular routines, time spent with extended family, and general overindulgence and merriment. On the other, we get anxious about (and sometimes even dread) breaking from our regular routine, spending time with extended family, and the consequences of general overindulgence and merriment.
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day seems to be one of the most challenging times for my clients (and most people I know), and also the time when most cancel appointments or take a break from therapy because there’s just too much to do. There seems to be a general approach of hunkering down, making it through, and dealing with the consequences in the new year. Odd that what professes to be a joyous time of year winds up being something we talk about “getting through” or “surviving.” But is it really so odd?
In general, the higher our expectations, the greater our chances of being disappointed. I think much of our holiday dread stems from fears of feeling hurt, disappointed, lonely, or sad at a time when the world seems to be telling us we should feel happy and loved. So how do we avoid some of the pitfalls of the holidays? How do we do more than just survive?
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC, Family Therapy Topic Expert Contributor