Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Therapy During the Holidays

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Filled with activities and personal commitments galore, the holidays are easily one of the busiest times of the year.  For a person who has been undergoing regular therapy sessions, the constant activity surrounding the holiday season can translate into tremendous stress and anxiety that make adding yet another appointment to their calendar seem like a burden.  Here are some common holiday stressors, as well a major reason why it is important to honor this very personal commitment to self in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

Family Can Be Stressful

There is truth to the common holiday movie trope featuring the relative who only comes around during the holidays and disappears from the family scene for the remainder of the year.  Not everyone is blessed to have a positive relationship with their family, and for those who have less than stellar relations with relatives, the holidays can be an extremely stressful time.  Being around toxic relatives can unleash unresolved tensions and even trigger negative memories of past transgressions.  Teens and younger adults feel immense pressure to put their best foot forward when around large swathes of family, already acutely aware of the many invasive questions they are often forced to answer.

The holidays are inundated with warm images of festivity, joy, and togetherness.  Still, many choose to forgo seeing relatives during the holiday season, citing a host of personal reasons for avoiding interaction.  Spending the holidays alone knowing that the friends a person normally relies on for support and companionship can create feelings of intense loneliness and emotional disconnectedness.

End of the Year Stresses

The end of each calendar year is riddled with both personal and professional demands.  The end of the year offers the opportunity to reflect upon the changes a person has made (or failed to make), as well as what a person has accomplished in the past 12 months.  Many may look back and realize that they fell short of some or all the goals they had set for themselves in January, causing feelings of anxiety and depression to take root. In the workplace, companies are wrapping up their fourth quarters, and more often than not they are also having their workers meet tight deadlines in preparation for the upcoming fiscal year.

More Commitments in Less Time

The holiday rush begins well before the holidays even begin.  In the weeks leading up to the holiday season, it is customary for a person’s different social groups to plan gatherings, such as cocktail hours, dinners, and parties, as a last-ditch effort to get together before vacation time starts.  Many people have relatives who reside in different parts of the country or even different parts of the world and planning who to visit and when is its own recipe for stress.  The seemingly innocuous goal of getting together with every social group and family member can create a situation where a person is scrambling to fit an increased number of commitments into an already packed schedule.

Why Continue Therapy During the Holidays?

Get a Head Start on New Year’s Resolutions

One of the key tenets of therapy is realistic and thoughtful goal setting.  Continuing therapy sessions during the holidays affords a person the chance to utilize their existing end-of-the-year frame of mind to get a running start on their New Year’s Resolutions.  A licensed therapy professional can help a person navigate both the immediate stresses and anxieties of the holidays and the establishment of goals for the following year.

From a pure marketing perspective, the promise of New Year’s Resolutions is a big selling point each and every January.  Since the holidays are a time when many take a break from therapy, a person can even lock in valuable time with their chosen provider before the January rush of bookings sets in.

Online Therapy Is Available and Convenient

Utilizing one of many online behavioral health platforms provides a world of flexibility and options for a person to incorporate the therapy they need on their own terms.  Many online providers offer therapy with 24/7 availability through a mix of face-to-face video conferencing, phone calls, and text messaging, removing the need to be physically present at a therapist’s office in order to engage.  The contact can be as high-touch or as low-touch as the client needs; clients who feel a greater need for support can opt for daily check-ins with their trusted counselor, while those who need some momentary direction can choose to remain in contact on a less frequent basis.

John S.

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