Pine Tree with text " HOLIDAY BUSTERS"For many the holidays bring a lot of stress. Let’s keep it real: the holidays are awesome when you’re a kid, but as an adult, the holidays turn you into a not-so-joyful person. There is a lot that goes into the holidays from preparation to execution. I’m not here to be the Grinch but I am here to pull up a chair at the family dinner table and sit in the discomfort with you. The holidays are exciting and joyful on many levels, but there is also a very real and destructive occurrence in some families that happens when stress and long term dysfunction are combined and placed around the turkey or under the Christmas tree. It’s more like a food fight than a feast.

If this holiday season has you stressed out let’s walk through the sources of this stress. Is it time management issues as your schedule is out of whack with sporadic shopping trips, company parties, charities, and other time-sucking obligations? Are finances stressing you out? Are you experiencing anticipatory anxiety as pending family gatherings are giving you nasty flashbacks to previous years? Perhaps you have experienced cut off from your family or certain family members which makes the holiday season feel lonely. Whatever the reason for the seasonal blues, there is help. Don’t let the Grinch steal your joy another year.



Small Circle with text "what I can NOT control", Bigger Circle with text "What I can control"

Fill in each circle with honest thought-out answers. Typically this is done with bullet points. Use this diagram as a way to keep yourself focused on where you are in control. This is a more positive and joyful place to be each day of the holiday season rather than allowing the anxiety and stress of what you can NOT control taking over.  Keep this as a reminder that you’re more in control than not!

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of counseling. Explore your own reactions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors within your family dynamics. Learn to set boundaries that protect yourself and give yourself time to heal. Learn how to interact within the dysfunction in a healthier way that doesn’t leave you drained at the end of the day. Learn to be the change and generate the shift you are desiring. You can’t control what others will do but you can control what you do. This season, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving! It’s not too late to initiate some change before this holiday season is over!

Stewart’s Gift Counseling