The 2018 Holiday Season is just getting started. It’s a favorite time of year and a time of celebration for the majority of people. They look forward to and are excited about spending time with family, eating holiday meals, exchanging gifts, telling stories and giving updates about their lives.

Unfortunately, there are also many people that dread the Holiday Season.  It causes them emotional stress having to deal with family members and gatherings, the memory of losing loved ones, the lack of family or the lack of a relationship and other topics that cause pain and sadness.

This article will give you helpful insight on how to navigate the Holiday Season.

      • Don’t Isolate Yourself!

    Isolation seems to be the “go to” remedy for so many people that want to avoid the holiday parties, family gatherings and the prying questions of well-intended people asking about your life or current situation.

    Many people isolate themselves because they believe it will protect them from additional hurt, pain, frustration, sadness or disappointment.  Isolating yourself is a self-defeating behavior. When isolated you have nothing but time on your hands to reflect on everything you feel is wrong or broken in your life. This can quickly lead to depression making the Holiday Season more emotionally difficult than it has to be.

    Challenge yourself to get involved in family gatherings, holiday parties and social events. Give yourself permission to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the holidays. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your life rather than the negative ones.

      • Set Boundaries

    It’s ok to set boundaries to protect yourself from unsafe people or situations. We all have people in our lives that are unhealthy for us and our emotional well-being. This may include family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and ex relationship partners.

    You are already aware of the unsafe people and situations in your life. Form a game plan in advance to protect yourself.  Your game plan can be as simple as avoiding that person at an event, or telling the person, “I’m not comfortable speaking with you”, to having someone you trust intervene when the unsafe person is trying to interact with you.  Know your boundaries and your game plan in advance. That way when a situation arises you are already prepared to handle it in a way that is healthy and beneficial for your well-being.

      • Reach Out to Family and Friends

    If you are hurting or struggling during the holidays, reach out to someone you trust.  I’m amazed how many people do not let anyone know when they are struggling or hurting. I’ve heard time and time again people say things like, “I didn’t want to bother you”, “I thought I could handle it” or “I didn’t want to be a burden”. If this is you, it’s ok to reach out to a trusted, safe family member or friend and tell them that you are hurting and the Holiday Season is emotionally difficult for you.  Remember, they cannot help you unless they know something is wrong.

    A major role in your emotional growth and healing is taking ownership. Unfortunately, no one can do this for you. You have to take that step toward healing by reaching out and asking for help to a trusted, safe family member or friend.

      • Do Something Special for Yourself!

    It’s extremely easy for hurting people to get caught up in their own misery and feeling sorry for themselves during the holidays. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in this vicious mind trap. Do something special for yourself, because you deserve it!  Do something that you enjoy, that makes you feel good or that relaxes you. You can do something you haven’t done in years or something you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t had the time nor made the time to do it.

    To help you narrow it down, make a list and pick one or two things that you would really enjoy doing and make it happen.

      • Make a Difference and Get Involved

    When our lives are not going as well as we would like, it’s easy to get down on ourselves.  During these difficult times, it doesn’t seem so, but you are not alone and we do not have to look very hard to find people that are hurting as much as us, if not more.  With that said, try reaching out and helping someone in need. There is nothing more humbling and gratifying than helping someone in greater need than yourself.

    The holiday season brings plenty of opportunities to help those in need.  There are numerous non-profit organizations needing volunteers to help during the Holidays.  You can help these organizations with their Christmas present drives, food pantries, soup kitchens and with church groups that have different types of holiday outreach programs.  Volunteering to help people in need will bring joy to those you serve as well as to yourself.