How to Get Through Mother’s Day When You’re Dreading It

Woman in blue tam leaning on her arm with blue teacup and book, looking sad. Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on

Mother’s Day got you down? Or maybe it’s her birthday. Or Christmas. Thanksgiving. The last day of school. Father’s Day is the one that gets me weepy and blue. Certain anniversaries? Please. Whatever your reason, whatever the season, holidays and special occasions can be mental health challenges, even in the best of times. Not to mention the period before said occasion, when the anticipation and dread can build to almost unbearable levels.

What to do about holiday Blues

There are 3 approaches you can use to help you get through the day or the season in good shape.

1. Ignore and avoid. Sometimes this is possible. Leave town. Distract yourself with a shopping trip. Get involved in a community event. Volunteer and help someone less fortunate. When it isn’t possible, though, you may need a stronger plan.

2. Minimize exposure. This may involve getting off social media, TV and radio. Avoiding stores that place the music and display the trappings. But you may have to tolerate some exposure, in which case, it’s good to have an even stronger plan.

3. Remake the day into what you need it to be—or not be. This strategy involves doing some self-examination so that you understand not only what you are feeling, but also what you need in terms of self-care in order to get to the other side of the occasion in good shape.

Some examples of this would be celebrating an alternative event or sentiment, one that matters but that doesn’t cause pain. Instead of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, how about celebrating you as a daughter or a son? Or celebrating your own children? Or celebrating someone else’s parent.

Other thing that fits into the category of remaking the day is to make it a self-care day. Take your inner child on an adventure. Request no gifts. Arrive late and leave early. Bring an ally. 

The point is to examine what will make your mind, body and spirit thrive. That usually involves looking at unhealthy habits and making an effort to substitute something less destructive, facing the “shoulds” and the guilt of the day and reinventing your reality based on your true experience, and learning some better ways to manage your energy.

If the suggestions above sound like something you’d like to explore further, you’re in luck. Because I’ve just completed my Holiday and Special Occasion Survival Playbook with people like you (me, us) in mind.

I am gifting this to you as a commemoration of all the special days when other people celebrate, but you or I, for our own valid reasons, cannot or do not.

Get your free copy of the Holiday and Special Occasion Survival Playbook!

Feeling Suicidal?

Help is available. Talk to someone. Call 988.

Check out Lifeline for more information.

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