A Different Holiday Perspective

30 Nov, 2016 / by Margaret Van Ackeren, LMFT

A Different Holiday Perspective

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just around the corner, it is easy to get caught up in the holiday chaos. While, for many, this is a time to enjoy everything that the holidays have to offer, including visiting with family, baking, shopping, and taking family photos, for others this is the most painful time of year. Loss of a loved one, declining physical or mental health, and feeling alone are top contributors to increased depression and anxiety around the holidays. It is no wonder why the holidays can bring out the worst in people!

If you are one of these people struggling to get by during this hectic holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having a friend, family member, or therapist to talk with will reduce some of the emotional burden being carried around. Set realistic expectations and goals for yourself; the more that can be achieved, the greater one’s sense of accomplishment and pride. Don’t compare yourself to others. This can be especially challenging with the various social media sites that conveniently highlight others’ absolute best.  Remind yourself of what is positive and redirect negative thoughts that spin you into a downward spiral.

If you know somebody who is struggling, reach out a helping hand. Put yourself in his or her shoes. We have all been there and know what it’s like to feel down. More importantly, we know what it’s like to have somebody to turn to and lean on in times of need. Be patient and don’t expect miracles. For some, finding emotional or psychological relief will take a great deal of time and energy. The efforts you put forth are a kind gesture and a step forward in the direction of their healing process. Finally, remember to celebrate the joy that the holiday season brings!


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Margaret Van Ackeren
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