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Family: What we need and want from our family during the holidays.

When we think of the holidays, we think of the Hallmark Channel. We think of Thanksgiving and Christmas specials where loved ones are traveling from far away to be with one another. We all desire closeness, attention, and love from our family. But, when that doesn’t happen we feel alone, sadness, depressed, or anxious and ask ourselves “Why can’t I have a family like theirs?”  Don’t assume the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. They NEVER are. You have changed over the years, and so have your family members.

Connect with Family and Friends:

Reach out to family and/or friends who you want to spend time with but don’t reach out to people who you feel obligated to see just because. In the end, you will be angry and resentful that you did. This is not the time to unload all the difficulties you have had with family members during the year. And, don’t let them do that to you either.  Identify who in your life supports you. Show them appreciation in some way. It may be a card to thank them for all their support, baking cookies for someone special, or spending time with them.

Or, volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter. Work with any number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children at the holidays. There are many, many opportunities for doing community service. When we help others, we feel good about ourselves. It’s a rewarding experience. Giving to others is giving to ourselves.

Other Helpful Tips During the Holidays:

  • Don’t Overbook Yourself: Maybe you are invited to several parties, a cookie exchange, a work holiday party, and the kid’s classroom parties. Be realistic. When we book too many events, we get irritable, cranky, and overwhelmed. This leads to fatigue, exhaustion, and sometimes resentment.
  • Organize Your Time: Things get hectic during the holidays. Make a Plan and stick to it. This will lower your anxiety and stress.
  • Plan Fun Low-Cost Activities: Have a movie night at home and make popcorn, drive around and look at Christmas lights, go window shopping, take an hour drive to the beach, mountains, or a lake near by. Spending quality time together is making memories that you and your loved ones will treasure for a long time.

If the holidays make you anxious or depressed it might be helpful to talk to a professional therapist. Individual counseling can be helpful to work out feelings of being alone or sad during the holidays.