It’s the holiday season! A time for joy and happiness, right? Well, for counselors/social workers/case managers/psychologists, etc., it can also be a very sobering time. This is a time when we see people that are struggling and the holidays that help most people feel better can make our clients feel worse.
This in turn can affect our we’re feeling and how we experience our holidays. I have seen colleagues at Thanksgiving and Christmas feel guilty because they were enjoying the season and having good times when their clients were struggling and unhappy. It is awesome to be empathetic to our clients’ situations, but when we start allowing it to affect how we are feeling about our own situations, this can be a problem!
It is important to recognize that our clients’ situations may/may not be of their own doing, but they are a party to where they are right now. What choices have they made or are they making that might be different from the choices you have made or are making currently? We can support our clients, but we cannot live their lives for them, nor should we; and we can show them that there are different ways to do things that might help them be more of whatever it is they want to be.
If you are working with people who are glum during this holiday season, help them to refocus their attention. Perhaps they would benefit from realizing what they do have instead of lamenting the bad stuff. Perhaps they can simplify the holidays, which would make them merrier! We can’t change other people’s situations, but we can give them hope and tools to improve things.
So pay attention to how you’re feeling this holiday season and don’t allow your work to prevent you from enjoying your holiday!