It’s a vicious cycle for many of us every holiday season. We try to cram too much “cheer” into every day, from shopping, entertaining, decorating and wrapping to an endless parade of parties and visits with family and friends. It is also a time when expectations sometimes take over reality, leading to anxiety, depression or exaggerated feelings of loneliness or loss.
The consequences of all this overindulgence and unrealistic expectations can bring on many “un-cheery” results: exhaustion, overspending, weight gain and a general lack of regard for our well-being – from skipping exercise routines and eating unhealthy foods to forgetting to take “me time.” It is not surprising that at the end of this month-long frenzy of activity we might feel a real letdown of significant proportions. Some call it the holiday blues.
Banish expectations – think creatively
Licensed Rancho Mirage marriage and family therapist Carol Teitelbaum sees an increased amount of disappointment and anxiety in her patients during the holidays.
“People have very high expectations during this time of the year,” said Teitelbaum. “They see things on television, and their own families and holidays just don’t measure up. When things don’t change over the holidays, they feel lots of disappointment.”
“Holidays also magnify loneliness for people who have had a loss or have no relationship… The busiest time (in my practice) for this issue is the day before New Year’s since it is all about relationships. This is when it hits people the hardest,” she said.