• Dealing with Conflicting Feelings about Celebrations

    Celebrations–whether holiday gatherings, family vacations, parties to commemorate special occasions–can bring us much joy. But they can also be emotionally stressful. Know that if these times are hard for you, you are not alone and there is help available to get through emotional crises. 

    Many people have conflicting thoughts and feelings about celebrations (e.g., events to recognize birthdays, the start or end to a school year or a job, graduations, anniversaries, marriage, etc.). They may react with overwhelm. They may find themselves flooded with difficult memories and emotions, thoughts of their losses, failures and regrets, doubts about themselves and their worth, and fears for the future. It may be distressing to anticipate and participate in celebratory gatherings with family and friends, regardless of how much they care for and enjoy them. The gatherings may serve as a contrast to their state of mind.

    While not much attention is given to tending to mental health at such times, it is in fact vitally important to do so. It is natural that negative thoughts and feelings may rise up in our minds when we anticipate celebrations, in opposition to popular associations of happy families and friends sharing gifts, food, laughter and love. 

    If you are one of the many people who find themselves feeling down during these times, know that (1) it is normal for such feeling to sometimes arise when anticipating or participating in celebratory gatherings AND (2) the intensity of the feelings WILL pass.  

    If you need help preparing for or getting through these times, please reach out for help. You are so worthy of assistance, if even you are not currently feeling that way. 

    If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or just would like immediate emotional support, 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 across the United States. You can call or text 988 or chat at Lifeline Chat and Text : Lifeline (988lifeline.org). When people contact the 988 Lifeline, they are connected to trained counselors who will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support and connect them to resources if necessary. The 988 lifeline is a source of immediate help in an emotional crisis. You can call anytime on an ongoing basis. You are also encouraged to share information about the 988 Lifeline with your friends, family, colleagues, youth and anyone who may be struggling with mental health concerns.

    Over the longer-term, counseling sessions may also be useful. You can call the Mindful Counseling Center to make an appointment. Via talk therapy, a counselor can help you work through these issues, find coping strategies that work for you to lessen your mental suffering and move towards more contentment in your life. There are also free self-care resources—e.g., like the Tip Sheet Less Stress Better Health.    

    (This article was adapted from our Mindful Life e-newsletter, 12-21-22.)