Whichever winter holiday you choose to celebrate, we hope it all turns out like it always looks in the Coke commercials. Warm, happy, and nothing but family love 24-7! But we’ve heard rumor that not every day of the holidays is perfect for everyone and sometimes people are sad, stressed, lonely, worried or, well, a number of other unpleasant feelings. So we polled the CCD therapists to see what advice they are offering to their clients for creating a Happier Holiday.
Deep breathing and plan self care time
– Sara Passero
I would advice everyone who is feeling overwhelmed or blue during the holidays to take a moment to stop, take a deep breath and take in all the beautiful decorations around them and/or remind themselves of at least on thing they enjoy about the holiday season.
– Martha Franek
Remind yourself, “I am doing this to celebrate love, family, friends and spirituality.” Don’t let it become work.
– Jake Jacobson
For my kiddos that visit parents they aren’t excited to see, I give them art prompts to do when they feel stressed or for the teens I have them journal. I also like to go over the coping skills that they have created specifically for themselves the last session that I see them
– Brittany Zielinski
Give yourself permission to take a break this holiday season. Whether that means spending time with friends or family, sitting by the fire with your favorite movie, or spending time by yourself at your favorite coffee shop. Taking a break means giving yourself the opportunity to truly take care of yourself.
– Diane Boehm
Find a way to feel joy, even if it’s a small amount. Volunteer at a holiday event or a women’s shelter. Bake cookies for an elderly neighbor. Eat your favorite food and watch something fun on tv. Remember that the holidays don’t last forever, and you’ve already survived so many of them.
– Danielle Kalwat
Lately I’ve been working a lot on mindfulness with my clients so that has been the focus during the holidays too, taking time to slow down and be still, even if it’s 3 minutes in the day for a calming deep breathing break can make a huge difference with the stress and craziness of the holidays. A good free app for practicing mindfulness and meditation is Stop, Breath & Think.
– Ederis Martinez-Cunion
I tell them to pay attention to what they tell themselves. What they think and feel has a way of becoming what they do.
– Mark Dittloff
1. Always have a plan B 🙂 That way when life throws you a curve ball you are mentally prepared for it. 2. Change it up…. instead of doing the same thing you always do spice it up and try something different.
– Rebekah dePeo-Christner,
This can be a time of year when it seems like everyone else has the perfect life (thank you Facebook) and can lead to some holiday blues. First, take comfort in the fact that no one’s life is perfect and everyone posts the ‘bests’ of themselves on social media. Second, this can be a time to remind yourself of all the positives in your own life by starting a gratitude journal. At the end of your day, just take a minute or two to reflect and pick one thing you were grateful for. This can be anything and doesn’t have to make sense to others, just something to keep with you before you call it night and remind yourself good in your own life.
– Sadaf Meckfessel
Remember this is only temporary and it will pass!
– Janie Zygiel
Telling yourself it’s okay to spend time on your own, even when family pressures you to do everything together. It’s helpful to spend quality time with yourself.
– Emma Pineda
Slow down, breathe, and enjoy the good moments, they are a gift. Take time to remember that you are alive and here and that is a blessing and you are worthy of enjoying life.
– Cindy Jacobson
I would ask them to think about a time when they enjoyed their holidays and three ways they could make this year better!
– Joey Tapia
Be mindful. Stay in the present moment and tune into your current activity to avoid getting overwhelmed by “all that needs to be done”. Uphold boundaries. Don’t overcommit. Say “Yes” to things that bring you joy or are genuinely helpful to others. Stay hydrated and try to eat well. Talk to someone. Understand the emotional complexity of the holidays. Expectations, disappointments, memories, and difficult interpersonal dynamics can leave you feeling stressed and depleted. Sharing about how you are effected by all of this with a trusted person, friend or counselor can help. Relaxation, meditation and exercise can also be helpful. Take time for breathing breaks. Specifically, I offer a 4-part breath if people aren’t familiar with breathing. It’s in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4.
– Michelle Moore
I say try something new. It does not have to be holiday related and can be as small or big as you want to make it. This can help an individual create goals for the upcoming new year or redirect their attention from holiday blues/stress.
– Marie Zubiate
Happier Holidays to You and Yours!