Holiday Spirit Good Bad
As much as the holiday season brings so much love, warmth, and feelings of peace to us, not everyone feels it.
But you know that already.
People struggle with this time of the year. It can be a huge trigger for those who don’t have that love, warmth or feeling of peace that the season suggests we need.
Maybe that describes someone in your life. Or maybe it describes your own experience.
You may be alone for the first time this year after a death or separation or divorce. You may feel like your family is hard to deal with or your friends are moving on. Or you may have a history of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues that make this a not so merry holiday season.
If you are struggling this year, there are some things that I want you to know.
You are not alone.
Holiday struggling can feel like it’s just us alone with our feelings but that’s just not true. Situational fears, anxiety, loneliness, and grief can all hit us hard this time of the year, leaving us feeling far less than merry. And those who suffer from mental health issues (1 in 5 of us according to the United States Mental Health Association) can experience additional stresses as the holiday season approaches. That may not make you feel any better in the moment but hopefully your take away is to know that you are not odd, weird or different than so many of us.
You’re not wrong to have the feelings you have.
If you check in with yourself you’ll likely determine what’s triggering you and why. If this is a yearly occurrence, then you probably already know your triggers and have worked on them with a professional. Either way, your feelings are what they are. They are not wrong, and you are not wrong for having them, they are just a result of what you are currently experiencing.
Talking about your feelings is a good thing.
What’s the first thing we do when we feel icky? We isolate ourselves, hide away in our homes or in our jobs. The weight of those icky feelings holds us down. Reach out and tell people who love you how you feel. Tell them that you get that their job is not to fix you or fill up your calendar so you don’t notice how alone you may be. That’s not how we work. Telling someone is simply a way of acknowledging and accepting your feelings, and connecting with others who can be supportive in any way you decide you need.
Do a redesign of your holiday experience.
Ask your deep core what would warm your heart this season and make that happen. Honor your past loved ones with a lit candle and a wish for them. Make your home feel festive enough to make you smile, holiday everywhere or a little touch of holiday presence, whatever lights you up. Buy yourself that one gift that you really want, wrap it beautifully and put it under the tree addressed to the love of your life…that’s you btw! Listen to a supportive podcast or music playlist, or watch that favorite holiday movie that always makes you smile or better yet, laugh out loud. (Mine is usually Christmas Vacation of course but the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix is a hit with my grand babies this year so we’re on it). The point is that you can design the kind of holiday that make you feel good, whatever that may look like!
Spread the love.
Use that deep core to tell you what would feel good for you to do for someone else. If it feels right to you, do it because you’ve got two birds right there when you factor in how you are warming someone else’s holiday too. It can be as simple as delivering a brightly colored tin of cookies to someone in nursing care, offering to shovel the walk of your elderly neighbor, or saying a meaningful happy holidays to everyone you see over the season. Let your warm heart guide you.
Change what is in you power to change.
That means not having any expectations of people around you to make you feel better. Holding on to those kinds of expectations only leads to disappointment when they don’t show up. And they can’t show up when the party belongs to you. Change happens when we decide what needs changing and how we want to change it.
One last message. Remember to reach out to professionals when necessary. If things start to feel overwhelming to the point that you need someone more than your friends or family, get some help. If you are hooked up already to professional supports, find out what is in place over the holidays so you know who to call.
We don’t always feel great over the holidays, right? Accept and dig deep to redesign as you can. Your deep core and your big holiday heart will not let you down.
And of course, taking charge of how you feel over the holidays is totally you!