The Importance of Patience & Self-Forgiveness During the Holiday Season to Counteract Anxiety

As the holidays season approaches, therapists and clients alike mentally prepare for a change in the direction their therapy sessions might take. During this session, patience and self-forgiveness become ever more crucial when focusing on maintaining a healthy mental state and  limiting anxiety. The holiday season is notorious for causing stress and anxiety, but it can also be a time of great joy.

While the outcomes of this season can sometimes feel out of our control, our patience, anxiety,  and mental state is not completely unmanageable. Throughout the holiday season, many clients are experiencing similar trials & tribulations. 

Some clients are excited to meet family across the continent, while some worry about how things will play out. Others may not have any interest in seeing their families, or they are suddenly feeling an anger they hadn’t explored before. Therapy sessions usually involve some kind of planning: how to deal if this or that happens, how to know when you hold your tongue/when to speak up, how to remember to breathe, how to practice patience and self-forgiveness, how to remember to be attentive to this or that relative, how to communicate in a healthy way, how to forgive oneself for a regressive outburst, etc..

Returning from the celebrations, some find that things played out much better than they anticipated, or conversely, some had hoped for a wonderful time– but things went south. Embarrassment, anxiety, regrets for causing pain, dismay from finding elders more forgetful and feeble may ensue. Many people struggle with figuring out how to deal with pain and anxiety they caused themselves. Others may be experiencing something different at the end of this holiday season. Every person and every situation is unique. Some clients may return to therapy sad, disappointed, or angry. Therapists are prepared for this, and will help  guide the session boat towards a promising horizon of change. 

The goal is not to be completely free of anxiety. Some kinds of anxiety can be helpful in navigating us toward positive outcomes. For example, it’s important to consider how others will feel if we say certain things. Speaking without any concern for others usually ends badly. If we never worried about anything, we’d be in a world of trouble. However, this holiday season, consider the power of self-forgiveness to ease your anxiety. Patience and self-forgivness are great concepts to bring up in your next therapy session. We will make mistakes this holiday season. We may say things we regret saying. Self-awareness is a gift that many find through therapeutic interventions, but we can often over-analyze our interactions or dwell on the meaning of our mistakes. Make space for errors & embrace the fact that you are human. Self-awareness and self-forgiveness go hand in hand. Mistakes and big feelings are a part of life. You should not fear imperfection as it is exactly what makes us truly and completely human.

Article by: Erika K and Tamar Barnoy

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