Happy Holidays: 2021 Edition

By Genevieve Bixler

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but to many, the holidays can be a source of unwanted feelings, distress, and loneliness. Add the fact that it’s the first year after our global pandemic and restrictions that prohibited many of us from connecting during this time last year are slowly lifting – there is now a whole other layer of changes and emotions to manage.

For some, being able to travel and be social again with friends and family may be exciting and long awaited. But for others, this may still be uncomfortable and a major source of anxiety. This holiday season, it’s as important as ever to be kind to yourself and others as we are all going through these unprecedented times and changes at our own pace. Here are some tips to stay self-aware along with demonstrating patience and caring towards others as we all navigate this holiday season together.

Tips for Practicing Self Care

1. Give yourself time to disconnect and practice a self care routine. Whether it’s cooking, working out, reading, taking a bath, being in nature, or just sitting somewhere you feel at peace, make sure you carve out time to do the things that make you feel like YOU.

2. Remind yourself what you are grateful for. Write it down, or if there are people on the list, let them know and tell them why.

3. Be assertive and set boundaries if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Communication is hard, especially when emotions are heightened. Practice being assertive, but empathetic. Use i-statements and reflections and role play with your therapist if you’re feeling stuck.

Tips for Practicing Kindness to Others

1. Check in with your friends and family to let them know you’re there for them. If you are both comfortable, invite them to meet to spend some quality time together, or just listen and catch up with them on the phone.

2. Write kind notes (to give in person) or leave kind comments (on the internet) to others. Kind words go a long way and it never hurts to remind someone else why they are amazing, unique, and appreciated. You have the power to make someone’s entire day. Who in your day-to-day life is often overlooked? Your local barista? Your mail person? Your neighbor? Let them know they’re appreciated.

3. Be kind to strangers. While you’re out and about this season, don’t forget that we never know what others are going through, or how they are feeling about the pandemic/holiday season. While going to the store might be easy for some, it might have taken all of someone’s courage that day, so be kind and patient.

How Therapy Can Help

As always, therapy can also help with managing stress around the holidays. Bring this topic up with your therapist and talk about the specific ways in which the holidays impact you. Together, you can come up with even more individualized ideas for how to manage any challenges this year and/or support the important people in your life. If you are interested in starting therapy, please contact our office at 212-433-2384 or info@parkavenuepsychotherapy.com.