The winter holidays are about joy and celebration, but for many Vermonters it’s a little more complicated. It’s common to feel a range of emotions like sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. Maybe you’re missing loved ones, thinking about the money you’re spending (or would like to spend) or struggling with the pressure to create a “perfect” holiday experience. Vermont therapy provides a safe and confidential space to openly discuss and process these emotions. With the support of a trained therapist, you can work through your feelings and develop coping strategies to manage holiday stress.
Recognize the Stress
Even if you think of yourself as grounded and in touch with your feelings, you might not realize how much stress the winter holidays bring until you’re in the middle of them. Or maybe you won’t recognize the stress involved and the toll it takes until the holidays are over. You might gloss over stress by thinking it’s your job to take care of holiday traditions. Maybe you make sacrifices to ensure a great holiday for your kids or your partner. That can all take a toll. Recognizing that the holidays aren’t 100% fun is the first step to taking care of yourself this time of year.
One of the biggest challenges during the holidays is balancing your own needs with the demands of others. It’s important to set boundaries and prioritize self-care during the season. Working with a VT therapist before, during, and after the holidays can help you identify what’s important to you. We can help you learn to recognize when holiday tasks become a little too much. You can develop a plan to make sure you’re taking care of your own needs. This may mean saying no to certain events, setting aside time for a break or delegating some responsibilities to others.
Can Therapy be a Break?
The holidays are a time when many of us take a break (even if we immediately fill that time with other tasks). In many cases, people take time away from their hobbies and other self-care activities as well. If possible, we encourage clients not to skip therapy sessions during the holiday season. For one thing, your ‘holiday break’ can be weeks long depending on travel or childcare. Sometimes taking weeks away from therapy sessions can lead to a backlog of stress. Secondly, therapy can be a release valve, allowing individuals to process and troubleshoot holiday stress while it’s happening.
Develop Strategies for the Future
One tip that our Vermont therapists share with clients year-round (but especially during the holidays) is: recognize the patterns and turn them into solutions. Just as you might think, ‘Remember: I don’t need the 20 pound turkey next year. 10 pounds is plenty’. You might find similar patterns and solutions coming to mind concerning holiday stress. Maybe you shouldn’t offer to host Christmas or New Year’s Eve if those events tend to leave you drained. Perhaps you could pare down an event to a smaller group…any changes you make this year to reduce your stress could be a good reminder for next year.
If you have questions about finding a VT therapy solution or how talk therapy can help you work through winter (or holiday) stress, get in touch. We’re ready to share a conversation.