Author: Diana Gordon, Psy.D.
While the holidays can be a time of tremendous joy and excitement, they can also bring up some negative feelings such as loneliness, stress, anxiety, or boredom. Many of our clients have mixed feelings about the holiday season, and these feelings can sometimes be confusing and difficult to manage. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the common negative feelings that people experience during the holidays. We’ll explore ways to manage those feelings so that you can truly thrive, and not just survive, during this busy and exciting season.
Sometimes the holidays can bring up feelings of loneliness. Some people don’t have family or friends nearby to spend the holidays with, while others might be thinking of and missing people that they’ve lost over the years. Here are some strategies for coping with loneliness:
Stress and Anxiety
The holidays can bring up a lot of stress and anxiety, as you’re juggling your everyday commitments along with additional demands for your time and attention. Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or coordinating a large gathering at home, you might find that you suddenly have a lot more on your plate than you’re used to. Some people also find that spending more time with people they don’t see very often, such as out of town relatives, can be both exciting and stressful. Try these strategies for unwinding and relieving tension:
Some of our clients find that having a lot of time off from work can lead to feeling bored and restless. You might find that without your regular routine, you feel aimless and have difficulty filling up your time. Try these coping strategies:
Recurrence or worsening of preexisting psychiatric problems (eg clinical depression, anxiety disorders, etc)
Some clients report that their preexisting psychiatric concerns seem to get worse or flare up during the holidays. Sometimes travel schedules make it difficult to see your therapist regularly, and this can make it difficult to cope with worsening symptoms. You might also just be experiencing more stress, which can trigger a recurrence or worsening of your symptoms. Here are some strategies you can try:
Remember that it’s normal to experience some negative emotions during the holidays. Try the strategies discussed here to help you thrive during this exciting season. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation if you’d like to get some additional support. Happy Holidays!
Diana Gordon, Psy.D., Kari Kagan Psy.D., and Katie Leoni, Psy.D.
Drs. Gordon, Kagan, and Leoni practice psychotherapy in downtown San Francisco and Oakland. Their areas of expertise include anxiety, sleep, stress, depression, and addiction. They blog about these topics to provide research-based information about common problems and strategies to help manage them.