How a Psychotherapist Can Help You Get Through the Holidays
Whether you recognize, celebrate, or choose to make the season your own, the fall and winter holidays bring a set of challenges that often take a toll on our spirits. If you’re a sensitive person, as much as you might love the seasonal invitation to slow down and turn inward, you might also be struggling with the transition to colder, darker days.
Instead of sipping your favorite tea and enjoying the company of others, seasonal depression and anxiety can arise as you are met with the hustle of gift shopping and resulting financial stress. You anticipate pressure from family members and facing the tension of difficult relationship dynamics. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and are sitting with a rise in grief. Maybe you’ve done a lot of growth this year and are being tested to uphold new boundaries you’ve set in your life.
Here are a few ways that a psychotherapist can support you during this time:
- Emotional support. Your therapist is there to help you process all of your thoughts and emotions that come up in complex and difficult situations. They will listen to you without judgment, validate your feelings, and help make sense of what’s going. Together you will explore strategies to cope more effectively with the situation. This can help to reduce emotional reactivity so you can show up more grounded in the moment.
- Identify and set healthy boundaries. When you’re feeling uncomfortable in certain family relationships or social dynamics boundaries help to empower you. Your therapist will can help to pinpoint where and what kind of boundary is needed. For example, you might need a time boundary around how long you stay at dinner so that you can leave with enough energy for other ways you want to spend your time. Or, you might practice holding an emotional boundary with someone who tends to judge and guilt trip you.
- Communicate effectively. When we are stressed and pushed to our limits, it’s really hard to communicate in ways we’re proud of. It’s absolutely okay to get upset and lose your patience. You are human, and this is not about being perfect. At the same time, having a psychotherapist to help you learn effective communication skills gives you a greater chance of being heard in a way that you can feel good about.
- Safe space. Therapy offers you a safe space to express yourself openly when it doesn’t feel safe to be your true self in your family of origin. In therapy you get to have a corrective emotional experience where you are heard, seen, and understood. This can be relieving and healing when you are consistently misunderstood.
- Guidance and support through difficult situations. Whether you are experiencing loneliness and isolation, or you are overwhelmed by the people around you, you don’t have to handle this season alone. Having a companion and confidant as you navigate this time is invaluable.
- Validation of your choices. Therapy can act as a healing touchstone to help you stay on your path. It’s easy to be swayed or doubt yourself in the face of other people’s reactions to how you want to spend your time. Maybe it’s that you want to stay on top of your meditation practice. Maybe it’s that you want to opt-out of all commitments this year. Your psychotherapist will validate and support the choices you want to make for yourself which can help you feel stronger and more confident in keeping true to them.
Setting yourself up with a psychotherapist throughout this holiday season ensures you’ll have carved out time that is just for you during the most chaotic time of the year. If you feel like you could benefit from some extra support, my team of dedicated therapists and I are here for you. Schedule your free phone consultation.
A note from a therapist:
You do not have to navigate this season alone.
You deserve to stay on your path.
You don’t have to let go of the progress you’ve made.
You are not the same person you were last year.
You don’t have to lose yourself to the choices, expectations, or judgment of others.
And if you do, that’s okay. That’s part of the healing process too.
There is growth in falling down.
Allow yourself the same grace and compassion that you so freely give to others.
You are supported.