Holidays can be a difficult time when dealing with personal struggles, especially during Thanksgiving. It is a time to give thanks and appreciate the important things in your life, but that is easier said than done. In the South Bay and Hermosa Beach, I frequently work with clients who struggle this time of year. Some of us choose to travel to our parents or relatives’ homes for Thanksgiving with the intention of surrounding ourselves with family members and friends who we have not seen in awhile. Despite our good intentions, these visits can sometimes be difficult. That is precisely why it is in these situations that it is important to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Although this year may have brought challenges, pain or even loss, shifting your focus towards being thankful and grateful for all that you do have in your life. I often provide my therapy clients with the following guidance to help them recognize how they are feeling, determine how to deal with these feelings in a healthier way, and enjoy their holiday to the best of their ability. You may find these strategies helpful too!
I always want my clients to be in tune with their feelings, mood swings, or how a situation can change those feelings. If you are not feeling your happiest or best self, that is okay and acknowledging it is extremely important. For family events like Thanksgiving, I never recommend faking or hiding your emotions. I believe you should always recognize how you are feeling and accept those feelings. Then, you will not harp on your feelings for the entire day or the entire trip; they will not be the center of your experience.
Thanksgiving normally entails at least a small crowd and lots of conversation. This is a great time to tell your family and friends about all of the positive things in your life, if your job is going well, a new relationship, new and exciting changes, or even personal growth. These things are important to share. However, it’s equally important to take some positive time for yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed or mentally exhausted, I often suggest taking a walk alone or finding a quiet spot to read. These small moments can recharge your energy while calmly focusing on yourself in a positive way. I recommend taking a few moments like this each day, especially when in a different environment; it will help keep you centered.
As I have mentioned, it is beneficial to focus on positive aspects of your life and to take time to reflect on the things you are most thankful for throughout the past year. Acknowledge the good things that you have experienced, and hope for more good things in the coming year. I want all of my clients to recognize that even at their lowest points, there is always something positive in their lives if they can take a moment to reflect. Among the struggles, we have relationships and experiences that make our lives better. For this, we should give thanks.
Before traveling to your childhood home or an aunt’s house, let’s talk through your current situation and what you have to be thankful for. I think it is productive to discuss any anticipated situations that may make you feel uneasy during Thanksgiving. Together, we can productively talk about the struggles you may face, while also addressing the positive aspects to focus on. I am always here to help. Thanksgiving should be a joyful time spent with family and friends, but if you are feeling anxious or down about it, let’s talk through it. I am your listening ear and your caring support system. To learn more about your local therapist in the South Bay and Hermosa Beach area, call or email! My staff therapists and I will be more than happy to help. By working together, we can replace dread with gratitude during this holiday season!