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How to Navigate the Holidays Without Strong Family Relationships

How to Navigate the Holidays Without Strong Family Relationships

'Tis the season to be jolly, but it can bring feelings of loneliness, sadness, and stress for a lot of people. Maybe you’ve lost someone. Maybe you have strained relationships with your family. Maybe you just prefer to spend the holidays alone. Whatever the case may be, navigating the holidays without strong family relationships doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be very rewarding when done correctly. In a world ravaged by uncertainty due to the pandemic, many people are feeling lost in their approach to the holidays, moreso than ever. Here are some practical tips to help you enjoy and celebrate the holidays without strong family relationships.

 

Volunteer Your Time

There are plenty of people, and even animals, that feel lonely around the holidays. Volunteering your time for a good cause can not only put a smile on your face, but someone else’s! The holidays can be a wonderful time to connect with those in need. Volunteering your time to a worthy cause is what the holidays are all about. This can include allocating your time to a local animal shelter or soup kitchen. There are plenty of people who need a reason to celebrate the holidays. Volunteering your time can help you feel full and enrich the lives of others!

 

Spend Time with Friends

It’s true that we don’t get to pick a family or what happens to our family. As unfortunate as that is, we can pick and choose our friends and who we spend our time with. You don’t have to be blood relatives with someone to celebrate the holidays. In fact, some would argue that holidays are best spent with friends! Throwing a holiday party or getting together with friends can help you celebrate the holidays with lots of love to share. Our friends are the most like-minded people in our lives - which is a perfect reason to spend the holidays with them!

 

Go on Vacation

As many get time off from work for the holidays, it’s a wonderful time to take a vacation and enrich your life with new experiences. Traveling is one of the main reasons people look forward to the holidays. You can go with a friend, partner, or even by yourself! Treat yourself to a vacation in a beloved or unfamiliar place so you can make memories that last a lifetime. Traveling is one of the best things we can do to enrich our lives and broaden our perspectives.

 

...Or Take a Staycation!

You don’t have to jet off across the country to enjoy the holidays or make memories. Turning your home into a staycation wonderland can help you navigate the holidays no matter what. Create a meal plan for the week that includes all your favorite foods, stock up on your favorite movies or books, and create a sense of ambiance from the comfort of your own home. Use the holidays as a time to catch up on everything you’ve been wanting or needing to do. The best part of a staycation is that you don’t have to pack or spend any additional money!

 

Practice Self-care

The holidays can be an incredibly emotionally and mentally taxing time for a lot of people. Practicing self-care around the holidays is wildly important for one’s mental health. Self-care doesn’t have to be intensive to be effective. It can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, saying no when you don’t feel like doing something, or splurging on your favorite takeout. The best part of self-care is that it’s entirely dependent on what you need in the moment. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your needs this holiday season. Do whatever feels right to you in the moment.

 

Focus on New Year’s Resolutions

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the approach to the end of the year. Take the time to reflect on your life over the last year and think about your accomplishments, goals, and lifestyle. Ask yourself questions about what you’re proud of yourself for, but also what you would like to accomplish in the next year. Focusing on New Year’s resolutions can help you navigate the holidays with ease. Think about the person you want to be and create small, actionable goals to get you there. At the end of the day, you’re in charge of your life, and you have the power to be anything you want to be.

 

Treat Yourself

You don’t need a family member to buy you those headphones you’ve been wanting or that fancy water bottle you’ve been dreaming about. Treat yourself to whatever you want this holiday season! The holidays are the perfect time to splurge on yourself. Whether it’s perfume, a new car, or a new coat, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to what you want this holiday season. Don’t stop there, treat your valued friends, your pet, or your partner to something sweet to feel the holiday cheer!

 

Therapy is Your Friend

Therapy is one of the most proven and effective ways to navigate difficult feelings and stressful times. If you’re feeling downtrodden or depressed during the holiday season, a qualified therapist can help you work through these feelings with ease and security. Therapy can help you get to the root cause of your negative feelings and provide actionable steps and discussion to improve your quality of life. You are just as deserving of a great holiday season just as much as anyone else. Therapy can help you thrive during the holidays!

Whether you or someone you know is struggling with feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression this holiday season due to a lack of strong family relationships, help is always available. Confiding in your friends and seeking out a qualified therapist can help you or someone you know enjoy the holidays without feeling alone in your endeavors. The holidays are about you, too, and you deserve to enjoy them!

 

Getting Help

If you are looking to improve your mental health and wellness, we are ready to help on that journey. We have a team of psychiatrists, therapists and psychologists that specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management. Our team of compassionate and skilled professionals is available for in person appointments for patients in the DFW area. We also offer online appointments for patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston and San Antonio areas.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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