‘Tis the Season to be Content

Anxiety, Depression

Reframing Thinking to Help Combat the Holiday Blues

| By Jane Dustman, LCSW

Photo by Amy T via Pexels

While the holiday season is often labeled as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, not all of us feel that way.

When Daylight Savings hits and we fall back into colder weather and less sunlight, some tend to notice a bit of slump in their moods, affects and overall feelings towards this time of year. To some, the Holidays are viewed as a time to give thanks, be with family, engage in holiday festivities for themselves and the ‘gram, but that is not always the case.

Holidays can also signify a time of grief, missing those who are no longer with us, looking back on memories once shared that no longer take place and the financial stress/pressure to keep up with the joneses.

No matter which end of the spectrum you are on, the Holiday season is what you make it to be and provided below are some helpful tips to help reframe that thinking so you can feel content with Holidays.

Creating New Traditions During the Holidays

When one hears about the holidays, traditions tend to pop into one’s head. While traditions are great, they can also be triggering to some due to grief and loss and/or time and situations changing.

Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels

The Holiday season is what you make of it and you most certainly can create new traditions and doings to clear that slate clean and forge onwards and upwards.  

  • Out with the old and in with the new – Think about some of the traditions that can be triggering, outdated or not feasible, and replace them with new traditions. You can carry on these traditions each year or implement something new with each year that comes.
  • There is more to the Holidays than gifts  While the holiday season is symbolized with the act of giving and receiving gifts, it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Love and appreciation is not shown by the expense of the gift, it is shown by the sentiment and the thought of the individual who gives something to another. Spending quality time, making something homemade, showing your appreciation of one through words of endearment are just as thoughtful and if not more sentimental than pricey gifts. 
  • Give back and help volunteer – Some of us do not have family/friends nearby that we can spend the holidays with, and the holidays can feel very isolating if that is the case. If you do not have loved ones or support nearby, volunteer for the holidays. Local animal shelters, food banks, shelters, Meals on Wheels, VFW, or hospitals welcome helping hands to help serve those in need and those who also are seeking the Holiday spirit. 

Acknowledging Grief and Loss During the Holidays

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

Unfortunately, we have all dealt with life’s toughest battle, death. Throughout our time here on this rock, family, friends and loved ones leave as their chapter comes to an end while we are still writing our story.

Loss is never easy, but it is certainly hard around the holidays. Grief affects us in all different ways and it is not always the same. During this season, allow yourself to have conversations with those around you about your feelings of grief and loss to help ensure you have support readily available.

Finding ways to remember and honor loved ones during the holidays, whether it is a plate at the table, a tradition they once engaged in coming back to surface or taking the time to acknowledge and remember the moments you shared may help as well. 

Another important factor is to start talking by planning ahead. The holiday season is the same each year, so it does not sneak up by surprise. Start talking about your feelings and the loss with your supports, counselor, and/or grief groups to help combat all the strong emotions at once. 

Getting Help for the Holidays

If you or anyone you know is struggling with the upcoming holiday season, having a hard time coping, or needing an outlet to process your thoughts and emotions regarding the holidays and change of seasons, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Licensed professionals can help you talk through your feelings, connect you with support and services, find techniques and skill sets to help regulate and explore your emotions, provide support during these times, and promote healthy explorative change.


Jane Dustman is a LCSW who enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, hanging on the beach, practicing yoga and dancing. Jane is dedicated to her practice of social work and enjoys being a full-time therapist at Exceptional Wellness Counseling.


EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.

Check out Jane’s professional bio here.

Email Us: info@exceptionalwellnesscounseling.com

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