It’s that time of year where the pumpkin spice runs out, the candy comas are over and talks of turkey, gravy, and scents of peppermint are in the air. Thanksgiving is next week and this is the “official” start to the holiday season.
I’m not sure who decided that Thanksgiving was the start of the season, but mine always begins on November 1st, or what I like to call, “National Discount Candy Day!”
The holidays are difficult for most people, even if you don’t celebrate any between October and January. For Trans and LGBQ+ individuals the holidays can be a time of great anxiety, stress, and depression for many reasons.
6 Simple Tips
I wish that I could wave a magic wand and make this time of the year easy for everyone. However, I am not a magical fairy, unfortunately, although I do have 6 easy tips that I believe will help you through the season.
1. Be Aware Of Your Feelings
There is no reason to ignore your feelings through the holiday season. It won’t help you in the long run because feelings don’t disappear, they fester until they come back and make things worse. So, pay attention to your feelings and find an outlet. This can either be a friend or accepting family member, or a journal that you have stashed away in your bag or pocket.
I always carry a small notebook that can fit into the pocket of my jeans or jacket if I am ever around large crowds or daunting people. This enables me to have a release if I need to step away. Sometimes, I step outside and write what I am feeling or even “take a bathroom break” to calm down, write, and re-center myself.
An app that you can use on your smartphone is called Diaro which is a free journaling app on IPhone, Android, and Desktop.
2. Give Yourself An Out
A “time-out” isn’t always a bad thing. In fact it can be a great tools for adults to use for themselves. Like I said above, give yourself a chance to step away and either journal, listen to a favorite song, and/or read a book.
I always suggest starting a “friend-tree” before the holiday season. A friend-tree is like a call-tree where one person calls another and it triggers that person calling their assigned person and so on until everyone has been called.
A friend-tree can also be a mass text message thread with a group of friends who need or can provide support through the holidays. This also gives you the ability to know you are never alone and all it will take is a text or a call and someone will have your back.
3. Remember That The Holidays Do Not Last Forever
This is important to remember whether you celebrate a holiday or not.
This time of year always comes to an end and so do the stresses that the holidays carry. If it helps, make this your “survival mantra.” Every time you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed take a time-out and repeat to yourself, “the holidays don’t last forever, the holidays don’t last forever.”
Sometimes a survival mantra is a great way to get through a difficult time. During overwhelming times in my life I repeat, “you will get through this, you will get through this,” in my head to remind me that the situation doesn’t last forever.
4. You Don't Need Approval
Remember this tip holiday season or not.
You are you and do not need anyone's approval to be who you are!
Do not forget that.
Hold on to that thought and never let go.
You are strong, you are worthy, and you are not alone!
5. Have Boundaries
Just because it is the holidays does not mean that you have to accept people pushing your boundaries. In fact, knowing your boundaries before celebrating a holiday is one of the best ways to follow the above steps.
Once you know your boundaries it will be easier for you to be aware of your feelings and know when you need an out. This will help when you begin to feel overwhelmed and assist you with sticking to your boundaries and seek support when needed.
I suggest talking to friends, accepting family members, and even mental health professionals to assist you in knowing what your boundaries are for the holiday season.
This is a topic I discuss with ALL of my clients even if they aren’t worried about holiday stress. Knowing your boundaries is a way to understand yourself and prevent overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
6. Take Care Of Yourself
This is extremely important and can be accomplished by following the above five tips!
You are strong! You are worthy! You are not alone!
Even if I have never met you before I know that these are true. You can get through difficult situations because you are all of those things. Do not hesitate to take care of yourself over the holidays and to reach out for support if you need it.
Reaching out for support is a show of strength and courage! Set Up a friend-tree or talk to a mental health professional who can provide support through difficult times.
Below are some resources including, hotlines, local, state, and national organizations. This is not a comprehensive list of all the resources out there. If you do not see what you need please do an internet search and feel free to let me know so that I can include additional resources in the future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance finding a mental health counselor, even if it isn't me. I will make sure to get you a comprehensive list of knowledgeable, passionate, and empathetic Gender Therapists as well as Sex/Sexuality Therapist if you desire.
About my Blog
I love providing people with information. So in my blog you will find posts on topics such as: community resources, media suggestions, parenting questions, and informational posts.