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  • Writer's pictureJordan Zipkin, LMFT

3 Ways to Increase Peace to Survive the Holidays in One Piece

You can hear Santa’s sleigh glide through the sky. You can taste the eggnog touch your lips. At that moment, you remember all of the gifts you feel you have to buy and the endless lines you have to endure to reach the finish line, where a joyous cashier points to an amount of cash you owe that makes you wonder how exactly you will afford it all.

While the holidays afford us an often much-needed step away from our daily routine, including the stresses of life, with it can come a stepping into an old reality, one with memories of our childhood filled with disappointments, loneliness, and familial conflict, as well as a new reality with immense responsibilities and to-do-lists.

In this blog, we will explore several realistic ways to ease the unpleasant emotions and increase the positive ones this holiday season.

Recognize and Normalize Your Emotions

One of the best ways to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of negative emotions as quickly as possible is to first notice you’re feeling them. Then, remind yourself that it’s perfectly normal to feel what you’re feeling.

For instance, when you’re with your family during the holidays and you suddenly feel lonely and sad as you recall feeling a lot growing up, realize that this is completely normal. When we are in situations that are familiar in any way to past ones, our minds often think we are back there, and so we can feel the whole host of emotions we felt back then. Simply by being aware of this possibility and then normalizing your experience of it, it makes it much more likely that the unpleasant experience(s) passes as quickly as possible.

Be as Realistic as Possible

From childbirth, we are taught to believe the holidays are perfect. Consider the cheerful music you hear each year of your life during Christmas time, endlessly conveying the exquisite, flawless experience. The reality is, though, this is not the reality.

Do your best to appreciate a more balanced and nuanced view of the holidays, one that is grounded in experience and fact. That way, you are not devastated when the holidays do not live up to their often unrealistic expectations.

Additionally, along these lines, instead of expecting to get every last gift that you cannot quite afford for each person with whom you love, recognize and embrace what you can spend. Similarly, take some time to also develop realistic goals to set as far as how you spend your time in such tasks as shopping and entertaining guests.

Engage in Consistent Self-Care

It is so easy to get lost in the busyness and overwhelm in the holidays. It is critical, then, that you maintain engagement in at least several healthy activities which bring you peace, joy, and distraction from the intensity of it all. Some examples are exercising, listening to soothing music, speaking with friends with whom you adore, and taking even a few minutes every few days to read a few pages of a book you love.

I can assist you in learning and practicing these and other powerful tools so that you can experience a much more relaxing holiday.

Contact me to schedule your telehealth session through a HIPAA compliant video or phone session. Give me a call and we'll discuss how I can help. Jordan Zipkin, LMFT, at 954-391-5305.


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