As we head into the holiday season with Thanksgiving in a few days, I want to acknowledge that while this can be a joyful, family and friend filled holiday for many, it can also be a very difficult time. Just a few days ago I experienced some feelings of anxiety and sadness as I saw Christmas decorations emerging in the grocery store. As a kid, I loved Christmas. The decorations, music, anticipation, gifts, and activity were all welcome.
Somewhere along the line after having my own family and experiencing many of the adult realities that we encounter as we get older, Christmas became a time I began to dread. While the details are not important here; I want to relate to you that I know first hand what a difficult time this can be. If you are like me, I want you to know that you are not alone in feelings of “Holiday Reluctance”. I think I’ll coin the term.
There are so many reasons that we find the holidays challenging. Unrealistic expectations, grief over lost loved ones, polarized conversations, poor boundaries, and financial strains are just some of the things that can cause us to lose sleep, over drink and eat, and feel lonely or disconnected.
Going into the holidays with reluctance, these are things I will be prioritizing. I thought they might be helpful to you too.
Meditation- this can look many ways, I like 15 minutes of guided meditation with an app. I am learning what a powerful tool mediation is to set you up for the day. It gives you an intentional opportunity to hit reset.
No expectations/ clear expectations- All I expect are mutual kindness and respect between family and friends. If I am worrying about something, I need to talk about it up front. It's as easy as saying, "I'm worried about this".
Mindfulness- paying attention to my thoughts and feelings. Thinking before I speak and act. Recognizing when I am feeling stress and taking a minute to figure out why.
Which requires slowing things down. Keeping a schedule that is comfortable for all involved. Which goes back to managing expectations.
Self Compassion- I have learned not to under estimate the power of self compassion. Acknowledge yourself as you would someone you care about. Do not confuse this with total acceptance of all things.
I am wishing you the best of all possible outcomes for your holiday. If you too, are holiday reluctant, I hope this helped.