A mental health perspective on the season

Someone asked me today why I always say ‘Have a Peaceful Holiday’ in my writings. I don’t say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. The desire to wish sincerely for another to have a season that is personally significant is absolutely wonderful. It’s a desire to connect.

What would it mean to approach this festive time of year from a mental health or trauma-informed perspective? How should we greet people and wish them well in a way that does not inflict hurt?

One of my clients says that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the MOST _____ time of the year.

The most stressful.
The most triggering.
The most binge eating and drinking.
The most expensive.
The saddest.
The most hectic.

The most disappointing after engaging in wishful thinking about one’s familial relationships.

Another client tells me he spends every brain cell he has trying to stay sober between November 20 and January 2.

Yet another wishes that she could just sleep through the entire season and wake up in January.

Though happy and merry are synonyms, they actually have different connotations. Merry implies a degree of revelry that is missing from happy, which tends more toward quiet contentment. Merry was actually slang for inebriation in the 18th and 19th centuries. Not everyone is merry and it’s invalidating to assume that. And not everyone is happy.

The desire for personal faith and ritual is nearly universal. The context is uniquely individual. There is agency to say whatever you want to say; but know that each word has connotation. Language is life.

I wish you peace, joy, love, and health this season.

See also:
Personal Praying May Boost Mental Health
How to talk to your family about mental health.

Embolden Psychology
Embolden

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

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