Question: The holiday season is making me feel very stressed out. I know it sounds wrong, but I’m getting sick of being around my family and in a way I wish I was back at work in my regular routine. Any coping tips?
-Alicia Dureaux, Whitestone, NY
Answer: There are many things about the holiday season that can contribute to this feeling of “Let it all be over so I can get back to everyday life”. In your case it sounds like two things are happening: 1) you’ve had an overdose of family time and 2) you are missing having a regular schedule.
The saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” has a lot of truth to it. Spending a lot of time in close quarters with anybody, including your loved ones, can begin to become unbearable. When you throw in the hype of the holiday season and the expectation that everyone has to be in a perpetual good mood, this can be an added strain on all the time spent together with family. For people used to working several days a week, the vacation days of the holiday season can pose an additional challenge due to lack of structure.
The first step in coping with this kind of situation is recognizing what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Just recognizing why you are feeling this way can relieve some of the guilt and shame associated with negative thoughts about loved ones. To address both issues, I recommend planning out your days. Make a schedule of time that you will spend away from the family and use that time for something relaxing or enjoyable to you. This will add structure to your days as well as give you a better balance of family and individual activities. You will likely find that when you return to the family and the holiday festivities you will be refreshed and happy to be there. Best of luck and enjoy the holidays.