The Holiday Season has arrived. With 14 religious holidays celebrated throughout December, a lot is going on for everyone. Between Christmas ads telling you to spend and pictures in newsfeeds of people's "perfect" Holiday, it can be a lot to bear. There is an expectation built each year around the Holidays, and for some, it can be too much. As a result, I wanted to share a few tips that might help you get through this time.
With the many holiday movies and photos online, there can be an expectation that we have to create the "perfect" Hallmark Holiday. This can put a lot of pressure on a person. I am here to release you of that expectation. It will be OK if you don't have all of your decorations up or if you can't buy your loved one that special gift. Give from your heart rather than your wallet, and know that whatever you can afford or create from them is perfect. Acknowledge and release your holiday "failures," imperfections, or when everything doesn't go to plan.
Missing our loved ones at this time can bring up some pretty powerful emotions. Whether someone you loved died, your relationship broke down, or you can't get home to be with your loved ones this year, know that it is OK to feel sad. Yes, feeling sad can be pretty powerful, but it is still important to express this emotion. Let yourself feel the sadness, cry if needed, and release it all. Releasing your emotions is a very healthy and overall safe thing to do. Just remember, emotions are energy in motion, and they want to run their course, and you should feel better after the fact. Some ideas to help you express your grief would be to write a letter to your loved one(s), either alive or dead, and let them know how much you miss them. If you can't be with your loved ones over the holidays, set a time with them where you can do a video chat with them. If your loved one has died, create or purchase a special decoration that represents them. You can hang them on your tree and include them in your present-day memories.
Practice saying, "No"
Holidays and gatherings go hand in hand this month. Whether you have a work party to go to, being at your in-laws, or your own family it is expected that invitations will come your way. Do you have to go? I am here to tell you, you don't if you don't want to. Just because having Christmas supper and Aunt Jane's has been the tradition for a decade does not mean you have to go. If you find the gathering or the people that are there difficult to be around, it is okay to decline the invitation. Something that I am noticing with my generation we are breaking some of those traditions and choosing our mental well-being over what "should" be done. Most older generations were raised to believe that blood is thicker than water and you must stand by your family no matter how they treat you. That way of thinking is changing. People are realizing that their mental well-being is important, and they are giving themselves permission to walk away from toxic relationships. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you can kindly decline the invitation. Then, if you feel up to it, plan a gathering with people you do feel safe with. This is your Holiday Season; celebrate it how you choose.
Remember to practice self-care
The Holiday Season can be stressful, so it is important to remember to practice some self-care. Self-care does not mean you must have champagne and bubble baths (unless you want that). Self-care is about looking after you and nourishing your soul. Ways that you can practice self-care are:
Take a quiet walk in nature. Enjoy the change of the season as we move into winter. How have the trees around you changed? Are there different birds in your area now?
Be silly. If you are blessed with some snow, get out and play. Make a snowman or a snow angel, followed by a warm drink.
Enjoy a nap. Being this can be a busy season, remember to take some time to rest. Enjoy an afternoon nap, put your feet up, and savour a hot cup of tea. Take some downtime.
Eat healthy food. We all know that Holidays can bring on sweets, which can weigh a person down after a while. Make sure you balance your diet with some healthy choices like vegetables, dip, and fruit over butter tarts and chocolate,
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time to meditate. Setting aside 15 minutes a day to meditate and bring yourself back to center can be so uplifting for your soul. If you need some meditations to follow, there are many on YouTube.
Lastly, I want to remind you that this is your Holiday Season. Choose to celebrate how you want or perhaps don't want. This is your time, and you deserve to be cared for by you. However, this month is for you, I hope you find peace and tranquility within it.
PS. If you live in Canada, and new Emergency number, 988, has been launched if you need mental health support. You can call or text the number at no charge.
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