As much as the holidays represent a time of rest, joy, and spending time with family, it also comes with challenges such as:
It can be extremely hard to go through the holidays alone. There can be many reasons as to why this is the case including: being away from home for school, working in another city, having strained relationships with family members, not having a significant other to celebrate the holidays with, or simply because this isn’t a tradition or cultural period to celebrate; each of these situations can be challenging. It’s also common for people to feel more emotionally distant even when they’re in a room filled with people. The holidays can bring out our anxieties and can make us feel quite depressed.
It can be really hard when we’re feeling vulnerable to want to put ourselves out there and address our loneliness by being emotionally vulnerable. It is super important to give it a try and think of this as an investment into somewhat of a New Year’s Resolution. Some things that might be helpful include:
Sometimes we might try a few things and need some support from others. It can be helpful to reach out to family, friends, or a therapist. You might be able to enjoy a session with a nice cup of hot chocolate.
As much as the holidays is a time to be spent with family, family can also be super complicated. Take “Home Alone” as an example. Kid is left alone for Christmas and has the time of his life, because no annoying older brother, no pestering parents, and no loud uncles, aunts, or cousins to ruin the quiet of our alone time. Pure bliss if you ask me.
Yet, for some of us, it’s expected that we’re spending time with our family. So, here are some survival tips for this holiday season:
If you need support setting boundaries or talking down your expectations for the holidays, you can get that support through a trusted family member, friend, or therapist.
The holidays can bring back memories for us when we’ve lost a loved one. These memories can be triggering and put a damper on the holidays. How are we supposed to have the holidays we’re so used to when an important part of that was to spend it with the people we love who are no longer here with us?
It’s important to have opportunities to express the loss you’re experiencing. You can do this by:
Everyone grieves in their own way, so it’s okay to do something that feels right for you that isn’t listed here at all. You might also find different people in your life such as family and friends who grieve the loss of your loved one in a different way as well. That’s okay too.
It’s important to give yourself time and be gentle with yourself. You’ll have mixed feelings about a lot of things, and that’s okay. Let them out and reach out for support if you need it. You can also set boundaries with others during the holidays and excuse yourself from events if they feel too painful to be a part of.
It might also be helpful to have professional support such as a therapist or support group, especially during a challenging time such as the holidays.
With the holidays coming up, it can be extremely daunting. For those visiting family, this means we might be back in the throes of curious family members and concerned parents who might want to know what we’ve been up to or “what’s next?” Yes, we know, it’s going to be a New Year, but maybe we haven’t had enough time this year to really have it all figured out just yet. Instead of being thrown into happy festivities, our family might bring up thoughts of “what have I been up to? Have I failed or disappointed them?”
Honestly, nobody knows what they want to do or what they should be doing, because if we actually knew then we would all be in perfectly happy jobs right after school. It really takes years before most of us can actually figure out what we like and that itself can change with time.
In the meantime, here are some tips to get you started on the “what’s next?” question:
And if you’re still feeling confused while being bombarded by all of these thoughts and everything everyone is asking, take a breather. It’s okay to take time to figure these things out. Plus, if it’s past December 31, great! Another year is on the clock before we need to go through this again.
The holidays are a time for relaxing, and usually that means lots of food and for those of us who are of the “legal age” of majority, that does mean having a few alcoholic beverages. It’s what we know in society as a way of celebrating - popping the champagne on New Years Eve is a staple image most of us see as a way to ring in the New Year. With that said, it’s important for us to think about how we are mindful and drinking smart at family events and holiday parties. Added bonus: it’ll probably also help with the calorie counting madness that may start come January 1st. (Yes, we’re going to quote some Health Canada now).
One drink is the equivalent of:
The following guidelines can be used to limit long-term health risks:
With that said, be safe and enjoy the festivities of the holidays. For those who need more support around their drinking, follow your 12 step program, reach out to your supports, and maybe give your therapist a call.
This article was written by Vivian Zhang during their time at Shift Collab.
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