From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
Health, Women's Health
December 20, 2017

When the holidays aren’t so happy

Marjorie Hobbs, LPC, LPCS
Palmetto Health Behavioral Care Day Treatment
Gifts and celebrations, parties and lights, what’s not to like? Right?

But for some, the holiday season does not always feel festive and bright.  

Here are five factors that can make maintaining the holiday spirit a struggle:

 

  1. Loss of a loved one – Holidays can be painful when there is an empty chair at the table where a loved one used to sit. There is no timetable to grieving and often the feelings of sadness are intensified around holidays when there is a focus on being with those we love. Talking about the missing person can be helpful. Remembering past holidays and keeping traditions they were once a part of is often cathartic.  
  2. Family tension – Any existing family conflict or relationship tension tends to come to the forefront during the holiday season. This can cause long-buried hurt feelings to resurface and raise stress levels for all involved. Taking some time out and pacing yourself with family involvement can make the holidays more manageable.  
  3. Loneliness – For those who may find themselves without family and friends around the holidays, there may be sadness and loneliness that presses in. Looking for ways to serve others can help with this, whether volunteering or connecting with people who may be in the same situation.
  4. Limited finances – We live in a culture where happiness is often perceived to be inseparable from spending. This can cause major stress around holidays as there may be an urge to over-extend financially. Making and keeping to a budget is helpful, but also keep in mind that the most memorable and valued parts of the holidays are more often the time spent and experiences shared with those who are dear to us.
  5. Comparison with others – Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  When we look around and compare our own situation to that of others, whether a holiday experience or anything else, we risk losing any contentment or peace we previously had.  Practicing acceptance and gratefulness and resisting comparison to others can help to keep our spirits bright and our hearts open.  
If you or someone you know is experiencing the holiday blues, let a supportive person know what you are going through. If the feelings don’t seem to fade after the holidays, you may need to reach out for professional help. At Palmetto Health Day Treatment, we are here to help. Call 803-296-8765 for a free behavioral care assessment.  


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