Have you ever left a holiday gathering feeling tired and depleted? Maybe you didn’t just feel mentally tired, but you actually felt the exhaustion and overwhelm in your body.
There are myriad reasons why this might be the case. It could be that the environment when you go back home to your family is one that you don’t thrive in. Maybe it’s loud and chaotic, and you do better in a calm environment. It could also be that being around your family brings up old triggers, so you spend the holiday experiencing a stress response.
Whatever the cause, the stress you experienced is legitimate. And the healthy response to something like that is to spend some time recovering.
What If I’ve Done the Work and I’m Still Struggling?
Something I see in my practice is that even the clients who have done the internal work and created boundaries in their life can experience this struggle. Yes, creating boundaries and advocating for your needs is important and helpful. But that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly easy to be around people and environments that are triggering.
In fact, enforcing boundaries can be exhausting. Repeatedly reminding your dad that you don’t want to talk politics, or explaining to your aunt for the twentieth time that you’d prefer it if she didn’t comment about what you’re eating… those things are depleting.
If you’ve done the work and you’re still struggling with holiday gatherings, you haven’t failed. Your feelings are valid and understandable.
Focus on Your Needs
If you’re experiencing this exhaustion and depletion after a holiday gathering, it’s time to focus on meeting your needs. Here are some ways you might start recovering:
Go into your bubble. Spend some time in a space where you feel safe and calm. Be intentional about who and what you allow in your space while you’re recovering.
Practice self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Nourish your body and mind. Do things that make you feel relaxed and cared for.
Reevaluate the situation. When you’re ready, it may be a good idea to reevaluate what happened and why it affected you the way it did. What did you learn? Is there a different way you can approach it next time that may improve the outcome?
I know it might sound funny to you to recover from a holiday gathering, but I promise it’s more common than you think. The holidays can bring up a lot of difficult things for people, and it can be an emotionally exhausting time.
The best thing you can do is to allow yourself the time and space you need to recover. Show yourself the kindness and gentleness you deserve.
Need some extra help navigating the stresses of the holidays? Schedule a free consultation with me here.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.