Coliseum Health System - November 12, 2019
by Bruce Conn, LMFT

Some quick thoughts about preparing for the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Some find the holidays to be very difficult. Old family wounds are highlighted, isolation feels more lonely and there is joy you may not feel. But we will move through this winter time and we will get to January. Here are some points to focus your coping.

1. Plan

Take some steps to look at the coming days, try to map out the plans you would like to accomplish. This may include when to decorate, time with friends and limiting travel.

2. Make some decisions.

Are there people you want to spend time with this season? Are there gifts to buy?  If you can face some of the complicated decisions, you will lower your stress. Remember it is okay to take care of yourself and say no.

3. Prepare for grief.

Holidays always remind us of departed friends and family. Address this early by setting times to remember or memorialize those who are important but no longer present. Make a ritual or do something special. Some churches have Blue Christmas services.

4. Stress is real.

The demands of the season have physiological costs. There is more darkness, our bodies crave carbohydrates and we feel overwhelmed with the demands.  The answer to this will be what may feel like some selfishness. Take care of yourself. Make room for yourself with personal time, maybe a mani/pedi, sleeping in, or hot tea and a good book.

Finally notice your expectations and try to be realistic as the season passes. Your feelings are important and information we need to acknowledge and hear.  A balance of intentional alone time and sharing with friends may make the season enjoyable.

If you feel your holiday blues or stress are out of control, you may need more immediate help. Coliseum Center for Behavioral Health professionals are available to help.