Practical Tips from Josselyn Clinicians

The holiday season often invokes images of joy, togetherness, and festive cheer. However, for many, it can also be a time of increased stress and anxiety. From the pressure of gift-giving to family gatherings and the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, the season can take a toll on our mental wellbeing.

To help navigate through the holiday hustle, some of our Josselyn clinical directors and supervisors have offered to share practical tips you can implement to help manage stress and enjoy the season.

Set Realistic Expectations

“When it comes to family time around the holidays, I encourage clients to lower their expectations. It is okay if things are not perfect, it really is just another day or two out of the year. I encourage them to be kinder to themselves and make time to be alone to recharge when necessary. I also encourage clients to use the holidays as a time for reflection—a pause in our regular busy lives.”

– Heidi Kalman, LCSW, CCTP, Clinical Supervisor

Create a Plan

Vanessa Wolters, LCPC, Clinical Supervisor, highlights the importance of planning ahead and being prepared for the busy times that may be a source of anxiety.

She said, “Create a plan for stressful moments and how you will respond. Remember that the only thing you can control is your reaction!”

Establish Boundaries

“No matter the circumstance, the best way to navigate these issues is to take time before the event to reflect on what your boundaries are and try to enforce them to the best of your ability. Be realistic about what ‘holiday time with family’ looks like—it isn’t always like the Hallmark movies—and try and be patient with yourself while choosing to focus on gratitude during this season.”

– Nina Becker, LCPC, Senior Director of Lake County

Acknowledge Your Emotions

“I encourage everyone to let their emotions (both positive and negative) come up if they surface. If the holidays bring up grief or sadness about loved ones lost or not being able to be with certain family members, acknowledge those emotions.

I also encourage everyone to not let themselves isolate and try to connect (even virtually) with family or friends.”

– Chloe Brodner, LCPC, Assistant Director of Clinical Services

Brodner offers additional tips, explaining the impact of gratitude and creating a routine during the busy season. She shares, “When it comes to the holidays, try not to aim for perfection and instead try to focus on gratitude for who and what you have in your life. It is also important to try to stick to a good routine by continuing with healthy habits and continuing to set boundaries as needed!”

Prioritize Time for Yourself

“Take time out for yourself each day during the holiday season and always to protect your body from the effects of stress.

Deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, imagery and progressive relaxation are all soothing ways to help yourself attain calm during this time.”

– Linda Weiss, LCSW, CSW-G, Clinical Supervisor

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