No, I am not talking about celebrating when you are going on a short trip during the Holidays. I’m reaching out to those of us who were obligated or forced to move out of your home environment- or even when those of us who made a personal choice to move out of our home country or state.
Choosing to move to Southern California 15 years ago still, stirs up a variety of emotions during the Holidays for me. Even though it was very exciting to move from a cold, wet, dark country to sunny California, it was so strange and foreign (pun intended) to hear Christmas songs and seeing decorated trees in 80-degree weather. My first Christmas in Southern California was celebrated with friends at an outside barbecue gathering, which was total opposite from an inside dinner with close relatives around a fire in the fireplace. It was such a big shift, even when it was my choice to relocate. It is probably even more difficult when you must leave or have been forced to flee from your home country and leave (some of) your loved ones or friends behind. There are undoubtedly some feelings of grief and loss feelings, or anger, or even anxiety when you see other people enjoying holiday traditions with their relatives.
Is it all negative? Absolutely not. There will be new traditions and celebrations with new colleagues at work. But what if you are just stuck at home? Adjusting to the new ‘home’ will go easier when you start reaching out to others. Attend some local festivities or when invite to parties bring some of your own traditions to celebrate Holidays in a new way with friends. New customs doesn’t mean that you have to change your values, you can incorporate them into new traditions.
The process of adjusting takes time. I am still adjusting to Holiday songs with the 80-degree weather but am also grateful to celebrate with new friends during our outside gatherings. HIf this hits home with you or touches on your holiday experiences, we are available to help. You can reach me or our other clinicians at Central Counseling Services. We are available six days a week at (951) 778-0230 if you need any assistance or guidance during this time of year. Happy Holidays!
Ilse Aerts, M.S., LMFT#96211