Coping Through the Holiday Season

In Health by Elizabeth Stephenson

The holiday season can be an emotionally tough time for anyone. In fact, underneath the surface of all the jokes and cliché stories about family dysfunction during the holiday, are layers of true anxiety and hurt. This can come from unhealthy dynamics with family members, long-brewing resentment, and throwing explosive combinations of people into a shared space with alcohol.

If you have recently separated, divorced, or do not have visitation with your children during the holidays, this creates an entirely new wrinkle into the holiday season that can make it feel unbearable. This causes some people to resort to unhealthy methods of coping with these feelings, such as alcohol, overeating, or overspending. As you head into this holiday season, please heed the following advice to survive through healthy coping.

  1. Acknowledge that the holidays can just suck. The first step to address unhealthy coping methods during the holidays is to acknowledge your feelings. Instead of avoiding what is bothering you, take steps to face those feelings. It can help to talk through these feelings with friends, support groups, or professionals.
  2. Recognize when you are “acting out”. As a parent, you recognize when something is bothering your children based on unusual or harmful behavior. Adults do the same thing, which manifests itself in feeding our pain with other sensations.
  3. Figure out what is triggering you to act out. Sometimes we find ourselves engaging in unhealthy behaviors before we even realize something is bothering us. For example, if you find yourself drinking or eating excessively, try to remember what started it. Was there an event, or a memory, or a feeling that made you drop everything you were doing and go to the drive thru? Understanding what is bothering you is critical to coping productively.
  4. Create boundaries. If you feel emotionally unsafe during the holidays, then establish some rules for yourself. If this means missing certain gatherings because particularly troublesome people will be there, give yourself a pass. Or, if it means blocking people on social media, then take those steps to protect yourself.

Contact New Direction Family Law

If you are having trouble with the holidays due to a separation or divorce, there are support groups and counselors who can help you. If you need legal assistance, New Direction Family Law is here to help. Our attorneys help resolve all issues relating to separation, property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support issues. We know this is a hard time in your life and want to help you move forward. Our attorneys are smart, compassionate, and effective. We want to give you the ability to make confident, well-informed decisions about your future. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Contact our office at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or visit us online through our website.