Whilst many enjoy the festivities of Christmas day and the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, Christmas can be a challenging time of year for midlife women. The holiday season can present a cluster of emotions that require some careful navigation.
There is a well documented link between the holiday period and its impact on emotional wellbeing and I often see an increase in demand for counselling services during the festive season.. You may be dealing with feelings of sadness, grief, anxiety or loneliness that can make Christmas stressful or painful.
Spending time with family, for example, can trigger feelings of powerlessness, resentment, feeling unseen or unimportant. Or if you are grieving the loss of a family member, the nostalgia of Christmas can bring up memories, or envy of others who still have their loved ones. If we add further stress around financial pressures, family breakdown or health issues, it can make knowing how to survive Christmas Day with minimal emotional impact very challenging.
Tips for Managing
Be gentle with yourself: Be compassionate with yourself when difficult feelings come up. Take time for self care. Eat well, exercise, drink in moderation and get enough sleep.
Reduce Stressors: The more stressors you can remove the more opportunity you will have to relax and enjoy yourself. Minimise pressure to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas. Only spend what you can afford. Consider what you are doing out of obligation or tradition and its impact on your wellbeing. Say ‘no’ to things that don’t feel manageable.
Focus on What you Can Control: Taking responsibility for managing your own emotions and acting in line with your own values is important. Practicing mindfulness can help you feel more grounded and stable in yourself which will allow you a greater sense of control. Being mindful can help you manage negative thoughts and regulate escalating emotions. This will in turn enable you to feel less reactive and more in control.
Watch your triggers: Anticipate challenging situations or conversations in advance. Find ways of skilfully managing your response. You may also want to consider setting some healthy boundaries. Plan what tools and coping strategies you can use to manage triggers.
Seek out others for support: Reach out to others in your social world who give you a sense of family and offer support. Aim to have at least one trusted person, such as a partner, friend, family member or counsellor, that you can check in with afterwards. Sharing your feelings and challenges with others and debriefing after Christmas events can make a big difference to how you feel.
If you are finding it difficult to manage over the Christmas and New Year period, it’s important to reach out and get support. You may reach out by texting or calling a friend, or inviting someone over for a cup of tea and a chat about what’s happening.
The festive season can be a time to retreat from the world, review your life and take stock. Sometimes you may know what is keeping you stuck but not how to change it. Counselling can help.
If you need support getting past barriers that are keeping you from reaching your goals or need someone to talk to about feelings or unresolved issues contact Michelle
About Michelle Seelig
Michelle Seelig is a Counsellor, Meditation Teacher and MindBody Practitioner working with women to help them get unstuck, rediscover the joy and meaning in their lives and ultimately grow into the person they were truly meant to become. If Chrstmas brings up thoughts or feelings that you would like help processing, book a Complimentary Discovery Call over here and together we can discuss your unique needs.