'Tis the season for hustle and bustle, friends and family, presents and treats—and for loneliness, family conflict, budget crunch, and social anxiety. Do you ever struggle with how to handle the "most wonderful time of the year"?
First, know that you are not alone. Difficult family dynamics, grief and loss, and memories of past stressful events come up for many people at this time of year, and may be intensified by our unrealistic expectations. We all have ideas of what our celebrations are “supposed” to look like, and it’s not easy for reality to live up to the ideal!
Getting through the holidays requires that you have a plan. It can help to think ahead about where you will be, what you can anticipate and how you predict you might react. Pretending that things will be “different” this holiday or believing that somehow you will have a new experience with all the same old people doing all the same old things will get you what it’s always got you.
But never fear—help is here! The Holiday Survival Guide is designed to help you develop tangible, workable coping strategies for dealing with the difficult emotions and interpersonal situations that the holidays can bring. Create a game plan with activities such as making an inventory of the most difficult people you anticipate dealing with and brainstorming how to minimize your judgments of them. Find practical “Dos and Don’ts,” such as avoiding “hanger” (hunger anger) by eating regularly, and limiting your caffeine intake.
You can survive the holidays and hopefully enjoy some parts. Take a deep breath, ring them bells, and work through this extremely helpful packet.