Honoring your emotions during the holidays

Friday, November 18, 2022

A mid-aged woman starring out the window not showing much emotion.

Fall and winter holidays come with a lot of fanfare―and plenty of high expectations. While holidays and the winter solstice can be joyous times for many, they can also bring up difficult emotions.

Teladoc has provided some self-care ideas to keep in mind as we enter the holiday season:

Recognize and affirm your feelings

Are you stressed with holiday shopping? Are you overwhelmed with cooking and hosting duties? Are you feeling lonely or isolated? Are you happy and grateful for another year? Maybe you feel something different. Take some time to examine how you feel. You can even write them down. Whatever emotions come up for you, they’re valid. You’re allowed to feel that way!

Manage expectations

It’s important to be realistic with yourself and with others. Try to avoid setting high expectations for how you’ll feel or what will happen during the holidays. Honor yourself by trying to accept how you feel in the moment.

Preserve your boundaries

You don’t have to do anything you’re not ready to do. So if you are feeling stretched too thin, consider saying “no” more often. If you have family members who bring up uncomfortable emotions for you, it’s OK to set a boundary with them. Remember: Your needs and well-being are just as important as anybody else’s!

Avoid comparison

Seeing festive scenes of beautiful, smiling people in holiday movies or on social media sites might feel nice at first. When you can, avoid comparing your life to the lives of movie characters, social media models, coworkers, friends and family. Instead, try looking at your life with fresh eyes. Think of the things that bring you joy and the things you’re grateful for. Then, think of the things that bring you pain or frustration. Set a goal for understanding your own life as deeply as possible. Then work toward that goal little by little.

Be kind to yourself

Try to show yourself the kindness you would offer others. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to change over time. You’re allowed to feel sad or detached, even during a festive season. You’re allowed to hold joy even as others might be grieving.

If negative self-talk creeps into your head, try rewriting the script in your mind. Instead of “Wow, I’ve really failed at celebrating the holidays correctly this year,” try responding to yourself with, “You know, I’ve done the best I can. And that’s enough,” for example. Identify which negative thoughts tend to come up about yourself and try out different responses. It’s a powerful way to be a good friend to yourself.

Give back

Helping others can be a hallmark of the holiday season. It’s also an incredible way to feel useful, connected and appreciated. This holiday season, consider what you can do for others in your community.

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Teladoc is here for you! Call 1-800-TELADOC (835-2362) or visit Teladoc.com/TeamCare. Teladoc is covered in full at no cost to the patient (does not apply to members in Kaiser plans).