SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares some reasons you might hate the holidays and how to cope.
I hear from a lot of people during this time of year who aren't fans of the holiday season. They say they dread it all — the pressure to spend money on gifts, the obligation to attend gatherings with people they don’t like, the commercialization and materialism, and the seasonal depression that might be brought on by overcast weather.
Do you feel like this in any way?
When you are unhappy, afraid you aren’t good enough or are struggling with relationships, you may have a tendency to project these feelings onto the holiday season. We all subconsciously project our feelings about ourselves onto things and people around us.
Here are a few ways to cope during the holiday season:
- If you feel unappreciated, then you might be giving too much of yourself. Ask yourself, could you say “no” more often or ask for help when you are feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated?
- If certain relatives or other people at holiday gatherings annoy you, ask yourself why. No one else’s opinions or behavior should diminish your joy or peace. Remember, their behavior can't get to you unless you let them and choose to give your peace away in exchange for the chance to complain, gossip or criticize others.
- When it comes to relatives who ask questions that may make you feel like a failure (because you've experienced set-backs or challenges since you saw them last), remember that they probably aren’t trying to make you feel worse, they just may not know the right things to say. This might be a growth opportunity for you to practice not caring what others think about your life classroom journey. Know that no circumstance you faced this year can change your value or define you. You could also practice turning it around by being the one asking the questions this year and giving others a chance to talk about their lives.
- If you think people are too critical, think about the ways that you are critical of others. Take the opportunity to work on seeing others as unique individuals who are on a different journey than you — but with the same intrinsic value. When you choose to see all people as having the same value, you also start to value yourself as the same as them. This may also reduce your subconscious need to criticize others.
- If you hate the holidays because of the materialism and commercialization, explore the ways that buying and receiving gifts may trigger a fear of loss in you. Does it trigger feelings of being taken from? Are you allowing people to make you feel inferior due to material things? Remember that buying things doesn’t change anyone’s real value and that it's not the holiday on the calendar that makes it about money — it’s people who do that. But each of us gets to decide how we want to express our love and appreciation for others. Sometimes, a heartfelt note or gesture is a better gift.
- If you feel that you may have seasonal depression because of the weather, talk to your doctor about solutions. Some solutions may include sun lamps, medication, self-compassion or even planning a trip to get some real sun. Look for ways to nurture and care for yourself and try to find small moments of joy.
The holidays can be hard because of the expectations we may have that they should be unrealistically blissful. This holiday season, let go of expectations and choose joy 5 minutes at a time. You can control how you feel the next 5 minutes. Take it moment by moment and trust that your value is absolute.
You can do this.
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