For many people, the holidays represent joyous times spent with loving friends and family. Music, TV and films all play on our wonderful memories of homes with the warmth of a fireplace and the delicious scents of fresh baked goodies or other home cooking.
In the real world life can be very different. For many of us the holidays represent less than loving family activities, stress in being around people who may not always understand, and who may not even be healthy for us. Our memories may not be joyous and loving, but filled with pain and disappointment. Anticipating holiday activities do not bring warmth and a smile, but rather holiday stress and anxiety. So what can you do to get through this difficult time?
- Acknowledge the reality. Think about previous holiday gatherings. If there was less warm hearth and home cooking, and more yelling and verbal abuse, that is likely what will occur again.
- Set realistic expectations and limits. You can’t be everywhere, and you can’t buy gifts for everyone. You are entitled to choose to spend time and energy with people you love and who nurture you. Limit the amount of time and energy you spend on people you feel you owe, but who may not be healthy for you.
- Own your part. Disown everybody else’s. Recognize you may have worked this year to become healthier and establish better relationships, but that does not fix anybody else. Don’t expect anybody else to see or appreciate the progress that you have made in your life. In fact, they may seem to resent or seek to undermine your personal growth. Appreciate the changes you have made, and do not let others distract you from your goals.
- Practice good stress management/coping skills. When people are busy and stressed the first thing they often stop doing are the things that keep them well. “I don’t have time to go to the gym, meditate, volunteer or go to my house of worship”. This is the WRONG approach. This is the time when you need to consider increasing the time you spend being proactive in managing stress.
- Seek help and support. If you need help in better managing your holiday related anxiety and depression, call the professionals at Ketamine Wellness Centers. Our treatments and multidisciplinary services can provide the support you deserve. While either Ketamine Infusion Therapy or counseling can help, the combination cannot be beat! Give yourself the best gift this year – a life you can enjoy!
Dr. Ellen Diamond is a Clinical Psychologist for Ketamine Wellness Center’s Inc.