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    Unplugging for the Holidays: Rediscovering Joy Beyond the Screens

    by Hannah Lane

    The holiday season can bring up so many emotions – sometimes all at once! Happiness, excitement, ambivalence, sadness, all of these feelings might show up as guests this December. It can be difficult to sort them all out, especially if you spend time scrolling through social media and see the multitude of posts, pictures, and videos that are often shared this time of year. 

    While it can be so much fun to see how others are celebrating and to share in that feeling of joy, this season can also bring up some of those not-so-joyful feelings as you compare yourself to the life you see on the screen.

    If you find yourself getting lost in a doom scroll, take a look at our holiday coping strategies: 

    Identify Emotions

    Take a moment to acknowledge and identify how you’re feeling. What emotions can you identify? 

    How do those emotions make you feel, not just emotionally, but physically in your body? 

    Knowing what sadness, grief, stress, even jealousy or envy, feel like for you, personally, is key to identifying when to take a step back when these feelings threaten to become overwhelming. 

    Limit Social Media Time

    If you’re feeling unhappy with the emotions that social media is bringing up, consider limiting your time spent on those websites or apps. 

    This can look like setting a timer, and logging out when it goes off, setting up screen time limits for yourself in your phone settings, or downloading a free app like Flora or OffScreen to help. 

    Notice Habits

    Think about when you find yourself using social media most. What prompts you to open that app and scroll through your feed? 

    Are there specific times of day that you find yourself scrolling, or certain events that you find yourself opening an app after? 

    Do you find yourself automatically opening up a notification when it pops up? 

    The more you know about what causes you to take a look, the more you can replace that habit with another that makes you happier!

    Habit Replacement

    If you want to cut down on your time spent on social media, consider replacing it with another habit that you find more joy in. 

    Is there a book that you’ve been meaning to read, a game that you miss playing, or a TV show or movie that you’ve been telling yourself you’ll get around to watching someday? 

    Falling back into something that you’ve enjoyed in the past can be an easy replacement for a habit that you’d like to cut down on or replace, without the overwhelming feeling that can sometimes accompany starting something entirely new. 


    Disconnect, either by yourself or with others. Finding time to set your phone down and reconnect with yourself, or with friends and family, can help to bring a new perspective into how you’re feeling, and how you would like to be feeling instead.

    While there can be a lot of pressure to enjoy the holiday season, and it can be so easy to fall into the loop of comparing yourself to those you know and don’t know on social media, sometimes getting through the season is the goal instead! By shoring up some coping strategies, you can set yourself up for a successful season. If you find that you’re struggling more than usual this holiday season, please contact us at 319.250.1267 to schedule an appointment.