Houston is full of positive images and for the Holidays. Already, you can see beautiful colored lights adorning the palm trees on major roadways, colorful decorations that sparkle and glow catch your attention in shopping centers, and soon happy holiday music will be playing everywhere you go. The message is that holidays are a time of giving and receiving surrounded by family and friends giving recognition for our lives. Its easy to envision festive images of family, friends, food, party’s and religious observation.
In other words the holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and fun. Yet, ironically holidays can also bring about stress, anxiety, depression and disappointment. These occur for many reasons. Socializing for the holidays often is an excuse for people to over eat, and over drink, feeling miserable and remorseful later. Guilt and shame can also accompany “giving in”. The pressure of gift giving and going out more can be stressful if one over- steps financial boundaries and spends too much, only to pay for it later, both financially and emotionally. Feeling frantic, trying to live up to what you think others expect from you and what you unrealistically expect from yourself and others can lead to anxiety and disappointment. Compromising your values or beliefs, feeling stuck and obligated, with limited choices and alternatives can lead to depression.
Symptoms that alert us to depression are:
- gaining or loosing a significant amount of weight in a short time
- over or under sleeping
- feeling overly tearful
- feeling that it’s hard to focus or concentrate
- feeling socially withdrawn.
To Get the Most Out of Your Holidays:
- Plan Ahead, so you can pace your activities without getting stressed.
- Get some down time for you. This should be a restful time not a stressful time, giving you time to reflect on the year, your life and your goals for the next year.
- Exercise your personal boundaries and be clear with others regarding what you can do and what you want to do, and stick to your plan.
- Make your own choices on what’s healthy and responsible regarding food and alcohol.
- Be realistic in what you spend. Sometimes the most heartfelt and appreciated gifts are not expensive.
- Choose your Company! Be with people who appreciate you, and who can enjoy a fun and stress-free holiday with you.
Make your holiday fun and memorable!
Psychotherapy can help restore joy and meaning in life. If you or someone you know is struggling or has lost the ability to feel the joy that comes with celebration and connection to others, or who wants to focus on their direction and purpose for the new year, you may want to consider therapy. Call for a free phone consultation, to discuss what brief therapy can do for you, or someone you care about and make the holidays and new year something to celebrate!