Zahira Melendez Therapy, LMFT-A

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. " - Nelson Mandela

Blog: How to approach the holidays in 2020

Here come the Holidays! A season of joy for many while for others, it's a time of feeling lonely, anxious or blue. Add a pandemic on top of that and you have a situation where folks can experience a more challenging season than years before. That is the reason why we should approach this holiday season a little differently.

One of the joys of the holidays is the gift of giving. My prescription for this season is to give to yourself first. Below are some tips on how to make it happen.

  1. Plan: Make this season your own. Identify two or three things that you want to accomplish and plan around that. It could be connecting with others, enjoying special meals, or having down time.

  1. Simplify: We can be so busy during the holidays that after everything is done, we are depleted. Keep it simple. Keep the traditions that bring joy to you and your family, and skip the ones that create unnecessary stress, anxiety or conflict.

  1. Flex: Things are rapidly changing so exercise flexibility. Don’t be so rigid. If something doesn’t work, throw it out the window and do something new. Be creative! Hopefully, your family will see your positive self and join you in your experience.

  1. Slow down, enough to care for yourself. You know what it is that brings a smile to your face, joy to your soul, and rest to your mind and body. This is the time to use every smell, sound, sight, taste and touch to make you feel yourself again.

  1. Reach: If you are struggling, tell someone you know or a professional who can support you through this season. You don’t have to do it alone. There are national services like the NAMI Crisis Text Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline who provide support to those in crisis or emotional distress.

Giving to yourself first will make a more pleasant season for you and those around you. Remember different is not always bad, it’s simply different. Make it your own.

Zahira Melendez provides psychotherapy services in Austin, Texas and uses telehealth to extend her services across the state. She specializes in anxiety, trauma, PTSD and relational issues. You can contact her here.