As mentioned in a previous blog post about happiness, this is the time of year that therapists and counselors often see an increase in a need for services. The holidays are a very sentimental time of year, where family gathers, stories are shared, and joy is spread. Although that magic comes easily for some, angst comes for others. Common struggles this time of year come in the way of financial stress or from emotional sadness. Parents feel pressure to purchase gifts on limited incomes. Memories of holiday’s past cause sadness for others who miss loved ones. There is a large amount of societal pressure every season to be happy and get in the holiday spirit, but the holidays don’t always bring feelings of happiness.
For those of you reading this thinking, “this is so me” here are a few example scenarios and tips to get you through the holiday season.
Take this situation and use it as an opportunity to teach your children a core value. The holidays are not about materialistic presents given, and money can’t buy happiness. Trade presents for moments. The memories you create with your family will make tight bonds and will be long remembered past any toys or objects you un-wrap.
Using the 12 days of Christmas as an example, why not place one affordable present under the tree, along with 11 envelopes, each with something to do. Some ideas to write in the envelopes may be: (1) Movie and hot cocoa night. Make the hot cocoa, pop the movie in, and snuggle up on the couch as a family to enjoy some quality time together. (2) A trip to the holiday lights. Pack your family in the car and hit the road to see the beautiful lights in your area. For only $3 a car, you can drive through Orlando’s Fantasy of Lights, while listening to holiday music and enjoying the holiday magic. (3) Baking with memories. Buy or make some sugar cookie dough and use colored icing for decoration. The kiddos will love making their frosted creations with you and this too will soon be a memory you will be laughing over for years to come.
It doesn’t take a lot of money to be happy or to enjoy the holiday season. You just have to get creative and remember the true meaning of the holiday season. Your children will enjoy the quality moments you can create for them, and will continue to thank you for them when they’re older.
For many, this time of year is when sadness strikes the hardest due to the reminder that not all family is near, alive or well enough to celebrate the holidays. Some are left feeling alone, distraught, and dreading the holiday season. It can be difficult to find reasons to celebrate and hard to feel cheerful. No one is here to tell you that what you are feeling is not okay. On the contrary, you have very valid reasons to feel the way you feel and finding positive ways to help you cope can make all the difference in the world. Some ideas to get you through this hard time:
Naturally as a parent you are always worrying about your children, and constantly afraid of screwing them up. Breathe.
Divorce is very common today’s day and age, and there are plenty of ways to work around it during the holidays.
As you can see, there are many alternatives to every scenario. Sometimes all it takes is an outsider’s perspective and a helping hand. These are only a few tips and tricks to get you through the season, but there are still many that were left unexpressed. If you’re finding yourself in a tough situation, consider giving a counselor a call and setting up an appointment to see what they can do for you. (Article contributed by Ashley Campo, UCF Psychology and Counseling student)
If you’re in the Orlando area and find yourself needing to consult with an outside perspective, Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling has trained therapists that are ready to offer you extensive knowledge, creative ideas, and a listening ear. You can contact them by emailing OrlandoThriveTherapy@gmail.com or calling for a free 15-20 minute phone consultation at 407-592-8997.
Stay happy and joyful this holiday season. You deserve it!