Hey there lovely you! The holidays are upon us and as usual, I greet this part of the year with a wee bit of grumpiness and a dash of exhaustion. The joys of working retail at a major store chain, am I right? Long hours, irate customers, and well… you get the picture, I kinda hate the holidays.
There are things that I love about this season. I love green bean casserole, hot chocolate with marshmallows, Christmas movies, and Christmas episodes of the Golden Girls, but on the whole, I’m just happy when it’s over.
This will also be my 2nd holiday season without my mother. We had a complicated relationship and I never spent the holidays with her because of it. It’s not something that I necessarily regret because it was a really important boundary but it does make me incredibly sad.
For some of you (us!) the holidays are hard and no amount of telling you to look on the bright-side and sing Christmas carols to yourself is going to fix that.
If you hate the holidays, that’s okay.
You don’t have to be in the bright Christmas sweater decking the halls with boughs of holly.
Maybe you have a lot of family issues and the thought of having to enforce your boundaries makes you want to break out in hives. This time of the year can bring you and your loved ones together or serve to remind you why you keep your distance to begin with. It can also make you miss the people who are no longer with you and those feelings are tough to handle. When you’re missing someone, it’s hard to just go on anyway and pretend those feelings don’t exist.
Or you suffer from anxiety and the thought of trying to figure out what gifts to get who, what parties to go to (or how to get out of them), whether or not you’ve saved enough money to have the celebration you want, makes it hard to breathe, let alone be jolly. Deep breath. Do what you can do.
Then there’s that lovely little thing called depression.
The holidays can bring it out to play and it’s hard to be full of Christmas Spirit when you really just want to curl up in bed with your cats. Maybe your life isn’t what you want it to be right now and it bums you out. It’s okay, feel it, be sad, you’re allowed to honor your feelings. Forcing yourself to be happy can bring about even more feelings of sadness and make depression worse.
All of those cookies, cakes, and fancy dinners can also be triggers for issues with food or body image. So many women dread that part for many different reasons. Be gentle with yourself and your feelings.
You are not alone.
Really, you aren’t. You are not the only one that feels like this is a time of struggle. You are allowed not to buy into the holiday cheer. You’re allowed to treat the holidays like normal days. You are allowed to celebrate in a soft and quiet way. You are allowed to preserve your energy and not spend it on cooking large dinners, or spending hours shopping, or driving yourself crazy trying to find the perfect gift.
If you want to bake cookies by the dozen, decorate your house like Santa’s workshop, and make a Thanksgiving feast that makes Martha Stewart look like an amateur, that’s awesome. But it’s not a standard that you have to live up to if you don’t want to.
Do what makes you happy.
Energy is limited so spend it where it needs spending.
Pay attention to where your energy is leading you this holiday season and go there.
Don’t run yourself ragged trying to be or do it all.
Get things done early and don’t wait until the last minute.
Learn to say no to the things that don’t make your heart feel good.
Come up with traditions that you truly enjoy, even if they’re just for you.
Remember how important self-care is and make the time to practice it.