It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Or is it?

If you aren’t humming that merry tune, you may thinking . . .

“I hate the holidays. Is there something wrong with me if I loathe this “joyous” time of year?”

While it may be shocking to die-hard holiday fans, for some it’s simply not a cheerful time of the year. And, yes, it’s okay to feel this way.

What might be behind that bah-humbug?

Deeper Discontent

Holiday season to-do and hustle/bustle can definitely lead to stress and even feelings of resentment. But your loathfull feelings may run deeper than dreading the mile-long to-do list.

For some holiday-haters, the holidays are a reminder of what they lack, how they’ve fallen short, and how dysfunctional their family is.

Here’s how this might play out in your thoughts:

“I’m all alone. It’s so much worse during the holidays when everyone is flaunting their togetherness.”

“Oh great. Everyone else is bringing their spouse/significant other to the office holiday party. I’m still single. So, I’ll be there solo. Again.”

“I can’t believe the year is almost over. I didn’t reach any of my goals. Why bother?”

“My mom is staying with us for an entire week. I’m not sure I can deal with her drama.”

The Most Emotional Time of the Year?

Holidays tend to be an intense, emotional time. Both the positive and negative are amplified, particularly if you have family drama.

Perhaps this time of year reminds you of loved ones who are no longer with you. It may unearth memories from childhood that you’d rather stay buried. It may remind you how far out of sync you and your partner have become.

Additionally, many reflect during the end of the year and begin planning for the new year. It’s normal to feel a sense of disappointment or regret about things left unaccomplished and to feel overwhelmed by all you want and need to do in the new year.

So how do you stay well during the holiday season?

Strategies for Surviving the Holidays

Always putting yourself at the bottom of the list? Think of it this way:

You’ll be a better partner, friend, parent, co-worker, boss, or human, if you take care of yourself.

It’s important. You’re important. So, make an appointment right now.

Here are some strategies for coping with the holidays:

  • Realize it won’t be perfect. No family is perfect and no event is perfect. Don’t worry over every little detail. Instead, enjoy the moment.
  • Take a break. Running in high gear 24/7 only leads to burnout. Yes, you can take a break– take a nap, grab some time alone, go for a walk, read a book.
  • Schedule relaxation. You say it’ll never happen. You’re too busy. Put it on your schedule. Make time for what relaxes you–a massage, meditation, yoga, writing in your journal. Whatever it is, set aside at least a few minutes to recharge every day.
  • Set boundaries. The holidays don’t have to be a free-for-all. Enforce boundaries with your family and friends, as you would any other time of the year. (Read about emotionally immature parents for more tips.)
  • Be kind to yourself. When you reflect on the year behind and the year ahead, remind yourself of all the things you did and the potential for good in the future. If you didn’t reach your goals, take some time to think about why and how you might better support your new goals.
  • Be thankful. Practice gratitude for even the smallest of things this season. There is always light. If you look, you’ll find it.
  • BREATHE! Time stops for no one. The holidays will be here and gone before you know it.

Need some help with this? Please reach out. We’d love to help you develop healthy boundaries and learn to practice self-compassion.