'Tis the season for gifts and giving, comfort and joy, peace on earth, and goodwill to all.
Yet, despite the glad tidings of the season, there are many among us who feel less than merry or downright blue during the holidays. Emotional responses to personal challenges are often intensified during this time of increased cultural pressures to be of good cheer. The inability to be with loved ones—be they deceased, afar, or estranged—can infuse the holidays with discomforting sadness and grief. Holiday consumption, impulsive spending, dietary overindulgence, un(der)employment woes, and financial hardships can create anxiety, worry, and dread.
Moreover, many of us may endure stressful travel conditions to arrive at childhood homes beset with family dynamics and expectations (unchecked assumptions, unresolved conflicts, unsolicited opinions) that may not fully embrace our current selves. Past surroundings prime behavioral patterns from earlier times. Furnishings, heirlooms, and scents often trigger residual responses and ways of being.
Sometimes, falling into familiar patterns in familiar places surrounded by familiar faces can be comforting. But...Read More