“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” ~ Philo
The holidays are underway. The decorations are upon us. The music is playing. For many, the holidays evoke tradition, family, joy, celebration, love, peace and goodwill.
But, sadly, many this holiday season are filled with not so cheery feelings. If you are that person, you may be living in a fog and feeling somewhat ambivalent about celebrating the holidays.
I understand. I don’t think we ever get used loved ones no longer with us. Or, it might just be this year hasn’t been what you thought it would be. Unexpected things came up and you are bogged down with worry and stress which feels more than you can handle.
Under the best of circumstances, the holidays can bring up stuff and we feel emotional over the littlest of things.
With that being said, if you or someone you know is experiencing sadness or is out of sorts this holiday season, below are some suggestions I hope will help you and allow you to help someone else get through a tough time.
• Plan ahead. Think about what you do and don’t want to do. You are the best judge of what is right for you.
• Don’t forget your self care. Give yourself permission to relax and rest. Go slow and do what you can when you can.
• Tell others what you need. If you need to take a break from your usual celebrations this year. That’s okay. You can always come back to traditions next year.
• Let others help you stay in touch with yourself. It’s very easy to say “I’m OK when asked by others how we are. This keeps us on automatic pilot and allows us to function. Over time, this response gets worn out if we continue to answer this way when we are feeling otherwise. If how you are really feeling is “a little shaky at times, or I miss so and so so much”, be honest. Those who really care about you will appreciate the truth. You will be expressing yourself in a healthy way by being honest and letting others know your true feelings.
• It’s okay to cry and feel sad. Your feelings, whatever they may be demonstrate the depth of your love.
• It’s okay to smile , laugh and enjoy the moment. This is not disrespectful to any loss you are experiencing nor is it a sign you have forgotten. Life is meant to be lived and you honor your loved ones by living and having the best life you can.
• Trust your instincts. You know what you need. It’s okay to change your mind over and over again during any celebration. You don’t know what feelings will come up and when that will happen. When they do, if you can stay in the moment, that’s great. If not, it’s okay to leave and try again another time.
• Keep a journal. When feelings are intense, writing can provide you with a safe place to express yourself.
• Start new traditions. Say a special prayer or blessing before the holiday meal. Light a candle in honor of a loved one. Create a memory book filled with photos and special mementos. Set aside some time for story telling to remember loved ones Invite others to share their stories.
These are just a few ideas to help ease sad feelings and not being your cheery self at this time of year. If there is anything bogging you down, I hope you will be extra kind to yourself, do what brings you peace and puts a smile on your face. The holiday itself is only one day. What makes sense to you is the right thing to do.
Wishing you peace, love and joy wherever you find it.