Updated: Dec 28, 2021
By Aneesha Perkins, LPC
The holiday season is upon us, and for many, it is a joyous celebration, However, for many others, it can be a difficult, painful, and challenging time of the year. The holidays may serve as a reminder of the important people that are no longer in our lives whether through death, separation, or a change in a relationship status. For those without a support system, one can feel lonesome and isolated. Check out a few tips to help with navigating your emotions during this time of the year:
Develop a Plan – If the holidays are typically a difficult time of the year for you – be proactive in developing a plan that will help you cope. One that will help you work through your feelings while combating isolation. Whether taking a short vacation or spending some quality time with your close friends – make a plan filled with various activities that can serve as distractions or help you create new memories. Write down 2-3 places you would like to go with your tribe and get started on making plans!
Share Your Challenges – Who can support you during this season? Sometimes the people closest to you may not know that you’re having a difficult time, so be honest with them about your challenges. As you share your challenges with those closest to you, it will also be helpful to let them know how they can support you. Be transparent about the people, places, conversations, or other reminders that trigger you. Write down the names of 2-3 people that you trust and create a short script that will help you talk to them about your challenges and how they can best support you. The more those around you know how you’re feeling, the better they can help you.
Honor Those You Are Grieving – In what way can you honor the ones you lost? Perhaps the holidays remind you of someone important that you lost. Honor them by creating a new tradition that creates a positive memory of them. For instance, if your grandmother loved baking cookies – have a cookie bakeoff with your children or siblings in her honor. Take a few minutes and write down a few favorite things, places, or foods that the person you lost enjoyed and create a new tradition that celebrates them.
Utilize Healthy Coping Strategies – How do you usually cope during the holiday? With this time of the year may come feelings of sadness, anxiety, and grief. Therefore, it may be common to drink excessively or engage in other risky activities that temporarily alleviate the pain yet are not helpful to one’s overall health. Redirect your energy and efforts into coping skills that are beneficial and that will strengthen your long-term physical, mental, and emotional health. Take a few minutes and write down 1-2 new coping strategies that you would like to try.
Write it Out – What are you doing with all of your emotions? What outlet are you using to express them? With grief comes a range of feelings that include anger, depression, and denial, and it’s essential to make space for what you’re feeling. Find a journal or purchase one specifically for the holiday season and begin writing as different feelings surface. You can even get creative and write poetry or songs that express exactly how you’re feeling. Make space for your feelings. Keeping them inside will only pose a risk to your mental health. Check out the journals featured in InnoPsych’s 2021 Emotional Wellness Holiday guide.
As you enter into what may be a difficult season, remember that you have tools and resources to cope with your feelings. We created the 2021 Emotional Wellness Holiday Guide to showcase products that were created by BIPOC therapists to provide a range of coping strategies. Take a look at the guide, we are sure that you will find something that will help you navigate any challenging emotions that come up during the holiday season and beyond.
If there are any strategies you have found to be effective during this time, please comment below and share them with our followers and us!