Call to mind REBT’s notion that humans disturb themselves. Yes, the holidays are over, but that does not necessarily mean you must yield to your predisposition to disturb yourself. Once you assume responsibility for your emotional upset, more specifically the depression and anxiety associated with the end of the holidays, you will be on the road to feeling better about the end of the holiday season.
Next look for rigid and extreme attitudes that prevent philosophical acceptance of the passing of the holiday season. For example below you will find three self-defeating attitudes that will produce post-holiday blues:
1. The holiday parties and the fun I had must go on forever. The good times must not end!
2. It is too hard to face the problems I was previously dealing with before the magic of Christmas began. I can’t bear facing my problems and must avoid them, numb myself to them, and distract myself from them.
3. The holidays were not as good as the absolutely should have been. Life is totally bad.
REBT encourages realistic, flexible, adaptive thinking. We all wish that the good times could go on forever but that is not how life works and good times do not have to go on forever. Keep your wish but see that time always and only goes forward and good times will come and go. The good news is that there will be future good times to be had as spring approaches and changes into summer. Think of that July Fourth BBQ you will be looking forward to attending in six months. Learn to look forward not backward.
REBT takes particular aim at low discomfort tolerance attitudes. Remind yourself that you can bear to face your problems and REBT can help you in this regard. Remind yourself that it is uncomfortable, NOT unbearable to go back to work tomorrow and the challenges you face. You can bear these adversities, and you do not have to upset yourself, create ongoing anxiety, depression, and anger about the challenges of life. REBT will help you cope with those problems. Redouble your commitment to learning to use it, so you get more pleasure and less pain, more meaning and less boredom, more healthy concern and less unhealthy anxiety.
Next, accept whatever good or bad times occurred during the holiday season. Question the idea that the holidays should have been better than they were. Accept that holiday parties and gatherings are not going to be as good as you might want them to be and you do not have to depress yourself about how this year’s holidays failed to meet your expectations. If you did not enjoy your relatives or if you angered yourself about them work on accepting them as they are instead of demanding that they be as you would like them to be. Remind yourself of the emotional and philosophical choice you do have. Perhaps Christmas was disappointing, but disappointment is very different from depression and anger. Maybe you misbehaved on New Year’s Eve and drank too much. If so learn to accept yourself with your mistakes. Also, acknowledge and evaluate your drinking patterns and see if you can learn to control better your drinking going forward. Reflect on the difficult questions. Do you drink too much? If so accept yourself but consider learning how to have a good time without overusing alcohol. Things, events, people, and even ourselves NEVER have to be as we want them to be. Accept this wisdom and move on to a higher level of adaptation.
I wish you a rational, self-helping 2018!