Ask Flavio: Surviving the Holiday Season

Our everyday lives are already so busy as we juggle many responsibilities—work, school, family, friends, children, chores, bills, our homes, social engagements, and appointments. Throw in a million more tasks and events in our already jam-packed schedules to prepare for the holiday season and it is no wonder people get stressed.

On top of all the extra time that is needed as we try to do too much as the festive season approaches, there are the high expectations that are aligned to the holidays—making sure the home is neat and perfectly decorated for guests, the hunt for the perfect gifts for our loved ones, preparing the perfect meal, the holiday parties, and let’s not forget all the extra costs these things throw into our monthly budgets.

For some, there is the added stress of travelling long distances during this busy season, and often people try to be everywhere,to please everyone, and wind up rushing from one place to another. And let’s face it, although the holidays are a time for family to come together, for some, being with family can be stressful in itself. We all may not have a cousin ‘Eddie’ to make our Christmas Vacation unbearable but many of us can surely relate.

As we are approaching the holiday season, people will experience many different emotions. Some will be happy, some will be excited, and some will have extreme anticipation. Others will experience anxiety and stress and feel emotions like frustration, sadness, loneliness, anger, and fear. The way that we feel is based on our past experience with the season.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of reflection, a time of gratitude, a time of happiness, and a time of peace. It is meant to be a time to celebrate with family and friends and yes, it is meant to be a time to relax and enjoy. When things begin to get overwhelming it is important to stop and reflect… to truly understand the purpose and meaning of the holiday.

For some it is not only the stress of the busy season and added responsibility that makes this season difficult. There are many people who have lost a loved one and their absence is felt even greater over the holidays. For many it is difficult to celebrate when it feels like someone is missing from their family circle. They focus on what is not there instead of the past experiences and wonderful moments that were created when this person was present.

I believe that everyone has experienced something good in their life—something that made them happy and excited. I also believe that the majority of us have also experienced sadness and a loss in our life, whether it is the loss of a loved one through death or a relationship break-up. The difference is some people are able to make peace with what has happened and some people remain stuck and are unhappy because they haven’t been taught how to deal with their situation.

When you are faced with a negative situation it is important to state that you don’t like the situation that you are in—pretending that everything is okay, when clearly it is not, is never a good thing. It is also important to state that although you may not know how you are going to fix the situation, if you stay in faith and believe that the situation will be resolved in your favour, it will.

So what is the key to surviving the season? Take one moment at a time and enjoy what you are doing in that moment. It is the simple things that bring us the most joy. If we were to look through the eyes of a child—they view the holidays with wonder and magic. Children do this because they believe and have faith. I ask that you suspend everything that you perceive as negative or bad and begin to look around you with an open mind. It is not about buying the perfect gift but it is the act of giving. It is not the perfect decorations but the energy you put into your surroundings. It is not the most elaborate meal but the laughter and conversation you share with those around the table.

This holiday season take a little time and go deep inside of you. Get in touch with the truth and enjoy the season for its true meaning. You cannot be good to others if you are not good to you. Take time for yourself. My wish for you is that you may find the peace and love that is already within you—look for it and it will appear.

If you have any questions about this article or need assistance dealing with any negative emotions as the holidays approach please feel free to visit or contact me at 905-684-1717 or by email at

Flavio Iammarino holds a Ph.D in Behavioural Science and practices Clinical Hypnosis.

He is a published author, motivational speaker and clinical counselor with more than 30 years of experience in the field of personal development and mental enhancement performance, achieving remarkable success with patients at his Niagara Post-Traumatic Stress, Anxiety and Pain Management Centre.

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