Navigating the Holiday Season

The lights, decorations, music and media at this time of year flood some people with pictures of everyone but them having a joyful holiday season.

Many people come to see me who aren’t looking forward to family functions, or loneliness, the pressure of giving presents to others who might not like the gifts, the extra temptation for those who are watching their weight or battling addiction.

For tricky family functions – protect yourself. If there is one relative, it could be a parent or sibling, who usually says something that flips you back in time to old anger or hopelessness, decide ahead of time how you will handle it. How will you respond? Here are a couple of suggestions, - Confrontation - “Don’t say that again.” Or, don’t fall into the trap. Remember this is an old pattern and you might not be able to change the other person, but you can tune it out.

If you don’t have the people in your life you wish you had, do you have a friend, friends, or group of people you can spend time with? People who like and appreciate you?

Don’t feel pressured to keep up with what you think others expect. If you’re low on funds, find something small and go for quality. Get the most luxurious bar of soap you can find. It shows you care and that you put time and thought into it. A rain cheque for spending time together, or doing something for the other is a valuable gesture. Put the rain cheque in a nice envelope and decorate it.

If the stress of finding gifts that will please people who are rarely pleased launches you into a state of anxiety, remember, it is difficult to please some people and you can only do your best.

When the new year begins, you want to start out feeling good about your part in the season, not in debt or exhausted.

This can be a challenging time of year for anyone battling an addiction including eating habits, alcohol, or any substance. To control your eating, plan ahead. If you know the food traps you want to avoid, don’t put those foods on your plate. Drink something other than alcohol and keep your glass full. If you’re in a twelve step group, you probably already know you can go to extra meetings, and hang out with clean and sober friends.

Schedule time to rest and recuperate, get enough sleep.

It’s your season too, make it your holiday, protect yourself in difficult situations, preserve your energy. 

And for the end of the year, find something doable you can look forward to changing.

Jaminie Hilton

Registered Clinical Counsellor

Vancouver Area

Address: West Broadway at Burrard, Vancouver,
My approach is compassionate with individuals - adults and adolescents; couples; and parent-child communication, including parenting after separation. I provide a safe therapeutic environment in which you are able to gain significant self-awareness, ...

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