, ,

3 Tips for Managing the Holidays

For some of us, the holiday season can be a minefield of social expectations. There is a lot of pressure placed on everyone during the holidays to spend time with family and friends. But those types of interaction require a social proficiency that can be difficult for young adults with challenges. Young adults who struggle socially may need to plan ahead to take frequent time-outs as a strategy for successfully enjoying the holidays.

Here are tips that may be helpful:

1) If you have trouble socializing, it is perfectly fine to give yourself permission to take some time to be by yourself. Although we are constantly bombarded with media images of families and friends spending huge amounts of time together, many of us need time alone to center ourselves. This is important because behaving in a manner that is not true to your authentic self is a recipe for unhappiness.

If socializing is stressful for you, then a good strategy is to spend small amounts of time interacting with others. For example, you can enjoy a holiday dinner with your family, and then excuse yourself to take some time alone. If you feel up to it, you can rejoin your family for dessert.

2) If you are someone who loves consistency, the chaos of the holidays and loss of routines can be really stressful. Routines create a feeling of calm and safety, as well as reduce the number of decisions that we have to make. But holiday festivities often disrupt the normal flow of a day or week. So try to keep to your regular routine as much as possible and only schedule a holiday event once a week. There is no “right” way to celebrate the season. Do what works for you!

3) Use your coping skills during stressful times. Remind yourself that it takes true strength to ask for assistance. Reach out to a trusted person in your life such as a parent, good friend, or Life Coach. Let them know you could use support for dealing with holiday stress.

If you are at a party and begin to feel overwhelmed, step outside and take deep breaths until you feel calmer. And try to find time to exercise. Sometimes a walk around the block is enough to allow you to feel centered and ready to re-engage.

With some preparation and planning, you will be able to carry on during the holidays and perhaps even find yourself enjoying them!

_____________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.