Not everyone does well through the holidays.
For some of us, this time of year is very difficult. Whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one at holiday time, the influx of over-the-top energy (ranging from irrepressible ecstasy to utter despair), or just the overwhelming chaos of the season, it can be very challenging to get through December, even in a good year.
Please stop telling people to “just be more positive,” or “you have so much to be thankful for!“
This can’t be said enough. Telling someone that all of their problems are tied to a positive mindset is not only invalidation of how they feel, it can be dangerous.
Sometimes moods are tied to a physical issue (I found this out personally – un-diagnosed food allergies kept my moods on a high speed roller-coaster for many years!). Maybe the person is just completely exhausted – mentally, physically, emotionally – and unable to just “perk up & be positive”.
We all have something going on. Please don’t assume that everyone has a great support system, and that their personal situation can be changed simply by “thinking positive”.
Instead of telling someone to cheer up, why not offer some actual help?
- Simply listen.
- Help them with something, even if it’s a small task.
- Bring them a cup of coffee or tea…just because.
- Give them a hug (ask first!).
- Help them brainstorm some self care activities they can easily do.
- Give them a gift certificate for a massage, facial, mani-pedi, Reiki session…or a book or CD.
It’s okay to take time for yourself.
I saw a post on Facebook that mentioned not going home for the holidays if it would be harmful for your mental health. This hit me to the core.
Family gatherings have always been challenging for me. When I do go home, I’m reminded through actions and words that I will never be enough for my family. Or that I’m “too much”. Or that I embrace the “wrong things” (once, an uncle berated me during Thanksgiving dinner for being multi-lingual, of all things!).
When you don’t fit into your family’s idea of “what is proper,” or for those who will never be “good enough” for their family, this time of year can be especially brutal. We are inundated with commercials showing happy families, gathered together emphasizing our feelings of failure.
I made the decision a few years back that I deserved to have holidays with my kids that weren’t full of angry, bitter arguments and cranky adults. As a result, we have quieter, more heartfelt gatherings in our own home, where we can laugh, sing, play games, and feel good about being who we are.
You are not a failure!
While I miss my family, this was the right decision. My kids don’t dread the holidays like I did.
Yes! – Family is important! But it is also important to have a healthy relationship with your family. And if that is a challenge, it is okay to limit contact time with them. Especially in high-stress seasons.
If participating in large family gatherings constantly has you on high-anxiety alert, do what you need to do for you.
Self-care is extra important for the sensitive folks.
Find some time to be alone. to rest & relax. However, if you are truly depressed, or have strong thoughts about self-harm, please consider calling someone (click here for some resources). And if someone reaches out to you, please consider accepting their help.
If you’re like me, finding time to fit in self-care can be a challenge. For that reason, I try to work in a couple of 5 minute breathing meditations every day, and my journaling may consist of a simple list of things I’m grateful for, or “what went well today” items. Self-care doesn’t have to be super time-consuming, but it is essential!
Be gentle. With yourself, and with those around you.
Remember,we all have challenges and burdens no one else can see. Treat everyone – yourself included! – with kindness and compassion.
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As an Angel Intuitive, Channel, Certified Angel Practitioner™ & Medium™, and Certified Archangel Lifecoach™ , who has been working with Angels all her life, Lizbeth brings loving, uplifting messages and angelic advice to clients. “Facilitating Finding the Wellness Within” through angels, herbs, Intuitive Holistic Wellness Coaching and Reiki.