5 tips to Manage Holiday Guilt and Disappointment
If you struggle with increased guilt and disappointment around the holidays, you are not alone. While the holidays can be wonderful and magical, they also provide ample opportunities for feeling guilty and disappointed to surface amidst the varying expectations and demands this time of year brings. Here are 5 tips on managing holiday guilt and disappointment. Check out this blog post to learn more tips on overcoming guilt.
Instead of getting caught up in the all too familiar thinking pattern of wishing things were different, try accepting the situation as it is. This doesn’t mean you condone or tolerate harmful or threatening situations. You stop fighting the facts and reality and focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t control. In doing so, you lessen the intensity of the negative emotions and feeling guilty.
Whether it’s your own expectations or the expectations of others, you can acknowledge that we all have limits and set boundaries on our time, money, and energy. There will still be guilt and disappointment with this but it won’t be as significant as it would be if you overspend and overextend. I enjoy reading what Alison Cook, Ph.D. has to say on the topic.
3- Compassionate Self-Talk
Be aware of when you are thinking or speaking in “shoulds” and recognize that this is often a form of self-criticism. “I should have more money to spend on gifts.” The compassionate version of this might be, “It would be nice if I had more money to spend on gifts and I’m doing the best that I can.” You can read more about compassion here.
4- Find Support
When you are overwhelmed with holiday guilt and disappointment you can find comfort in talking with someone who won’t judge or criticize you for what you are feeling. Having even one person who you can confide in can make these feelings more manageable.
Changing schedules and travel can throw us off our normal self-care routines. It’s ok to loosen your routines and enjoy some freedom, don’t worry about feeling guilty. Have fun and continue to prioritize quality sleep, nutritious food, moving your body, and any other activity that helps you stay grounded and gives you a sense of pleasure.
As you move into the holiday season, regardless of your external circumstances, I hope you can find moments of internal peace, love, and acceptance. You can have both holiday guilt and disappointment AND gratitude and joy. It isn’t easy but it is doable.
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