Holiday Coping Articles

7 Ways to Manage Mixed Emotions During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

simplifying-holidays-shrinking-stress

As the holiday season is now in full swing, I can’t help but observe the swing of emotions — mine and that of those all around me.

On one hand, there is the child-like delight of magical holiday lights and decorations. Regardless of a “bah hum bug” mindset, it is hard to deny the spectacular beauty of homes and businesses bedecked with twinkling lights.

If you have little ones and family in your life, there is the excitement, enthusiasm and anticipation of the magical appearance of gifts and delectable feasts.

6 Ways to Beat Homesickness at Christmas

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Ways to Beat Homesickness at ChristmasIt’s a Christmas thing. Even if you find yourself in the most beautiful corner of the Earth, you’ll still feel a little lonely. After all, there’s nothing like a festive season spent with one’s friends and family.

Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can manage this sense of nostalgia. Here are some tips for beating homesickness when you’re far away from home during Christmas:

VIDEO: Try This 5-Minute Yoga Vinyasa Flow for the Holidays

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Between traveling, buying gifts, cooking the “perfect” meal and managing kids and in-laws, coming home for the holidays can be …

Addicted to Affluence

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Shoe shoppingMany people mistake affluence for self-worth. You can buy what you want to buy. Live where you want to live. Own what you want to own. You’ve made it! What a worthy, wonderful person you are!

So how come you’re still feeling that it’s not enough? You bought what you wanted to buy. You feel great. Yet, a day later, rather than feeling pleased, you’re bored.

So, you rack up additional purchases on your favorite digital device. It’s so easy to shop these days. Or, tired of shopping, you plan another trip. You create another social event. And still it satisfies only for the moment.

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

Strings Attached: When Gifts Aren’t Really Gifts

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Present Flickr image from JD Hancock

“The catch about not looking a gift horse in the mouth is that it may be a Trojan horse.” – David Seller

Having recently gotten married, I received a lot of gifts from close friends and family. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that some of these “presents” come with strings attached.

A gift is an act of altruism, of generosity. The point of gift-giving is to show love and appreciation for another person. It’s not about a dollar amount. It’s not about custom. It’s about being thoughtful — an important thing to remember with the holidays fast approaching.

Holiday Survival When Anxious or Depressed

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Holiday Survival When Anxious or DepressedFor those of us who suffer from anxiety or depression, the holiday season can prove especially challenging. The juxtaposition of unhappy thoughts alongside the cheery Christmas music, nostalgic movies dripping with holiday sentimentality, and advertisements displaying jubilant people celebrating the season can make us feel even worse.

The American Psychological Association lists financial concerns, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to be with certain family members and friends as contributing factors to holiday anxiety. Mix in the stressors of shopping, family reunions, travel, office parties, and dealing with houseguests, and no wonder this seasonal “cheer” can be a landmine.

Adult Children of Divorce: Getting Through the Holidays

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Food, Family and the Holidays

Something like 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, but there’s a special group of us whose parents didn’t call it quits until we were adults. And with the holidays approaching, it’s a little different in our homes.

When people like me were in school, everyone else’s parents were getting divorced. We couldn’t wrap our heads around what that was like for them. Blake said his parents are fighting over him. Julie says she doesn’t have a whole room to herself at her mom’s house so she argues not to stay over there. Some kids were even shuffled around between maternal and paternal grandparents on weekends. Sometimes there was fighting. Sometimes there was palpable grief.

But in the end everyone got through it.

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday Season

Monday, December 1st, 2014

6 Tips for Approaching the Holiday SeasonFor many of us, the holidays are stressful. Our stress might stem from having a narrow, rigid view of how the holidays are supposed to be, said Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, a therapist in private practice in San Francisco.

We might feel pressure, from ourselves and others, to have a joyful holiday. But we might not feel particularly joyful, or at least not all the time if our family isn’t close by or our relationship is complex, she said.

In fact, it’s not uncommon when you’re spending time with your family to “find yourself catapulted back in time, taking on roles and participating in dynamics that you may have believed you’d left behind,” Shinraku said.

7 Tips for a Saner Holiday

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

7 Tips for a Saner HolidayAs soon as autumn comes, people’s thoughts begin to shift to the holidays, and sometimes those thoughts are accompanied by difficult emotions such as depression, frustration, and anxiety.

For some, the holidays conjure up unpleasant associations, such as the first event without Grandma there, or prickly family get-togethers. Then there are financial worries, the pressure to come up with gift ideas, dealing with school kids on vacation, to-do lists, and much more.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014In America, we celebrate a day of thanks today, so Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (no matter where you might live)! This is our 19th year celebrating a Thanksgiving with you, and for that we are extremely thankful.

Like many, I too like to spend this time of the year reflecting on my gratitude and appreciation for all of the good things I have in my life. I am especially appreciative and grateful for the non-materialistic things — things like my family (all of whom are in good health and spirits), my friends, my online buddies, and my colleagues from around the world.

I am also grateful for all of the good that so many people have done to help change the message about mental health… From one of shame and embarrassment, to one of hope, science and illumination.

Navigating the Holidays When You Have Depression

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Navigating the Holidays When You Have Depression For people with depression, the holidays can be a challenging time. People with the illness “tend to have a negative view of themselves and their lives,” said Selena C. Snow, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating depression in Rockville, Md.

“If they have overly idealized beliefs about what the holidays should look like, the resulting discrepancy can be very difficult.”

Recent Comments
  • Tara: “Love and intimacy don’t blossom by trying to pull it toward us or manipulating people. ”...
  • Emma: What a tragic loss of such an amazing soul. I wonder what would have made the difference for him between life...
  • Lilly: Jane, you realize that the genetic markers for schizophrenia were only found this year, right? Before that...
  • owl: Mid life crises.
  • Michelle: Thank You so much for this article. It really helped me see things in a better light while on my road to...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12117
Join Us Now!