I’m usually a pretty organised person when it comes to keeping track of the dates, but as November turned into December I was caught by surprise at how fast Christmas had come around. As I spoke to others about this experience, I realised it was something a lot of us shared. While the surprise was a common experience, I noticed that the year coming to a close brought up a mix of additional emotions for different people in my life.
For many the end of the year and holiday season brought a sense of joy and excitement, for others, they started to feel a sense of overwhelm or anxiety. Understanding and identifying these feelings is an important first step in navigating the holiday season, and helps us to prepare for the start of a new year.
Joy and Excitement
Experience the festive joy, but manage expectations. Not every moment needs to be ‘perfection’, and it’s acceptable if celebrations fall short of every expectation. Embrace the simple pleasures that bring genuine joy during the holiday season.
Stress and Overwhelm
The pressure associated with deadlines, hosting gatherings, navigating difficult family dynamics and the cumulative effects of the year can contribute to stress and burnout. Prioritise self-care by allocating time for personal well-being. Learn to say no when necessary, make time for activities that energise you, and allow yourself a break when you need it.
The holiday season may intensify feelings of loneliness. This can be experienced as more intense if you have experienced recent loss or change in your personal life or family circumstances. Recognise that you’re not alone in experiencing this. Reach out to professional support, friends or family, consider support groups, or volunteer with a local charity or organisation, to foster a sense of belonging and connection.
Approaching the new year may trigger anxiety, particularly when faced with reflecting on unmet goals, regrets or disappointments. Acknowledge this anxiety, using the new year as an opportunity to reassess and recalibrate expectations. Approach the new year with flexibility and self-compassion, embracing the potential for personal development.
If you notice that difficult feelings have come up for you this season, our team of psychologists here at the Centre For Effective Living can support you to navigate this complex time of year. You can reach out using this link: enquiry form.