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The Dark Side Of The Holiday Season

12/21/2015 09:56 EST | Updated 12/21/2016 05:12 EST
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Stressed young woman in front of christmas tree

The holidays can be a wonderful time for many people; they're an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, take some time off school or work, and enjoy the festivities. For some, though, the holidays can be stressful.

Every year, there are always people who don't look forward to the holiday season. Some have difficult relationships with their family members, some are feeling lonely and isolated, some are financially strapped and embarrassed that they can't afford presents for their extended family.

If you're upset with your career or frustrated with your financial situation, the holidays bring these feelings into sharp focus. The silver lining is that perhaps, this will motivate you in the new year to resuscitate your moribund career or sort out your finances.

If you're sick of spending another holiday with no money for a vacation or even for gifts, or if you realize that you're dreading going back to work after the break, this malaise might be just the incentive you need to make some real changes in these aspects of your life.

The holidays can be difficult when you impose a lot of expectations on yourself: you should be happy, have fun; feel close to people. But maybe all these things aren't possible, right now.

You might be one of those people who find the holidays painful because in the past, that's when you lost a loved one, or some other sad event occurred. If you want to make the best of this holiday season, you'll need to accept the reality of what is.

If your family isn't close, this is most evident during the holiday season.

If the season brings up painful memories, you can take advantage of your time away from work or school and use this as an opportunity to grieve your losses. In this way, the holidays can be a good time to let go of some emotional baggage.

If your family isn't close, this is most evident during the holiday season. You can get depressed, eat and drink too much, or consider whether there's a way that you can improve things. It might be time to have a serious talk with one or more family members.

Or, perhaps, it might be time to distance yourself from the people who are hurtful to you. If you can't see things improving in your relationship with your family, you might want to start spending your holidays on the beach with your partner or a close friend.

There's nothing like the holiday season to underscore the problems in your personal relationships. You can avoid thinking about your unhappiness with your friends or partner when you're running around multi-tasking during the rest of the year, but when the holiday season arrives, it's unmistakable.

If one or more friends have been dragging you down, perhaps your new year's resolution should be to let go of them and start looking for some better friends in the months to come.

If your romantic relationship has been unhappy for a while, this would be the moment to start thinking about how to fix it, or perhaps, it finally might be time to consider a separation. You can book some couple's counselling sessions for the new year or alternatively, you could think about calling a lawyer.

When everybody is gathering together to celebrate, it's a lot harder to ignore the disappointments and frustrations you've been experiencing with your relatives, close friends or partner. In that sense, the holidays are a gift to you: a golden opportunity to acknowledge and address the problems you've been avoiding.

The holidays can be an absolute delight or a real downer, depending on your situation. If you have challenges or difficulties that are amplified during the holiday season, you could choose to suffer in silence or overindulge in food and alcohol. Conversely, you could use your unhappiness as the motivation to deal with the issues that the holidays make impossible to ignore.

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