The Mixed Emotions of the Holiday Season

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can provoke many different emotions. If it is joy, excitement, grief, stress, anxiety, shame, or guilt, the mixed emotions can be overwhelming. Many times, we can resort back to our childlike self, especially when we are spending time with family. Remember to recognize and validate your own emotions.        

There are many reasons for mixed emotions during this time of year. Maybe traditions are changing due to a death or a divorce, so adjusting to the change is challenging. Maybe there has been a new addition to your family, so the new baby is pulling everyone’s attention. Maybe you or a loved one is struggling with a chronic illness, and you are worrying about how you or your loved one will be impacted during the cold and flu season. Maybe you are dreading conversations with others that you have not seen in years. Maybe you are stressed by dividing your time or how to be fair with your time. Maybe you avoid the holidays all together. Regardless of your situation, this season comes every year, and we have to face it.

Below are some tips on how to handle the mixed emotions this time of year.

First, you can try to embrace the parts of the holidays you enjoy. This may mean holding onto traditions that you already have in place, creating new traditions or foregoing traditions you do not enjoy. It could mean giving your time to those in need and volunteering. You may enjoy being creative and making gifts rather than buying them. You may try a new recipe and hope for success but embrace it if it fails.

Second, try to prioritize your time and energy. You may feel pulled in multiple directions during the holidays. Remember that it is okay to decline an invitation or say no if you do not have time. Try to slow down and take care of yourself. Breath during stressful moments.

Third, you can try the practice of gratitude. Take a walk and reflect on what blessings you have in your life and what you are thankful for. Being content is a mindset that has learned to be appreciative. Ponder how to reach your state of contentment and being okay with how things are, good or bad. Find the little things that bring you simple joys in life.

Although the holiday season can bring on both positive and negative emotions, it is a time of gathering and connecting with others. By focusing on embracing the parts you enjoy, prioritizing your time and energy, and practicing gratitude, the love, joy, and excitement will outweigh the negative emotions and you will feel more balanced.