Counselor’s Guide to Thriving over the Holidays

Get a counselor's perspective on how to not just survive this holiday, but thrive.

This is the time of the year that we are bombarded with messages of the holidays. Besides being a time of joy, it can be a time of resentment and frustration. There are many messages that we can carry regarding expectations for the season. Messages such as: “I have to spend time with my family, I have to buy many gifts, and I am too busy.” I want to encourage you to make this the holiday season that fits for you. It can be hard to change patterns that are “the way it has always been” and make this your season.

Whatever your beliefs, many people have an expectation to enjoy the holidays and, sadly, this is not necessarily the outcome for many.  Here are some tips to thrive this holiday season:


  1. Pay attention to your spending. Develop a budget for decorations, presents, and activities as well as gifts. This can be the season to overspend and I encourage you to carefully consider what you are buying and determine if you are buying things for the sake of buying or is it a gift from your heart.
  2. Spend time with people you want to spend time with. There may be family rules or traditions influencing you to spend the holidays with certain people. Consider your time as precious and decide who you would really like to spend it with.   
  3. Spend some time taking care of yourself. Self-care is often at the bottom of the list. I talk to many people who are stressed out from all they have to do and never consider taking time for themselves. You will be refreshed and better able to handle stress as it comes up.
  4. Consider not engaging in the “Holiday 5.” Many people allow themselves to gain 5-10 pounds over the holidays. Do you really want to go into the New Year heavier? I suggest you eat yummy food in a mindful manner, so you can be satisfied with less.
  5. Create a holiday ritual that fits you. How do you want to celebrate?  It could possibly include spending time outdoors or something new. Evaluate how you spend the days, and ask yourself if there is something you find missing and add that to create something unique.


I encourage you to take some time to evaluate what you want to have happen this holiday and see if any of the above suggestions work for you. There is a way to be true to you while meeting family and societal obligations. Put yourself in your schedule and take out the activities that no longer serve you. In the end thriving over the holidays consists in making sure you give yourself the gift of yourself.


Kim McLaughlin LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (mfc 27667). She works as a psychotherapist in Roseville specializing in counseling people with binge eating, compulsive eating and eating disorders. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. This blog is not meant to be a substitute for counseling and if you are in need of counseling services contact Kim McLaughlin LMFT here.


Kim McLaughlin LMFT has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at www.feedyoursoultherapy.com.


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