10 Tips for ReDefining this Holiday Season
December is a month that carries lots of cheer, joyousness and festivities. Holiday parties, get togethers and family events are often a big slice of the celebratory cheer. Now, although the songs on the radio and the hallmark cards portray simplistic joy, utter connection and sheer wonder of the holiday spirit, there are many unacknowledged “feels” that come up as well. And though I’m a believer in maximizing opportunities to celebrate life and its gifts, I also am aware of the dark side of life we sometimes grapple with.
The tribe of humanity faces losses, divorce, financial burdens, worries, moves and emotional distress. These don’t simply dissipate with the joyous season.
In the real world we live in, families fight, dysfunctional dynamics get replayed, people break up, death happens, people get laid off, and kids get bullied. And the heartfelt, well -wishes for a fun vacation, a joyous channuka/christmas season or social events don’t give you that everlasting glisten you hoped for.
What if.. you want to redefine your holiday spirit yet are struggling with….
You may be struggling with low self esteem and feel uncomfortable in your skin..holidays make you want to hide even deeper in
You may have lost your job or have dropped a class in college and are filled with shame and sadness…you dont want to have to put that fake smile on your face.
You may be stuck in a rut with your partner and are unsure how coupled or single you’ll be next year this time…and you don’t know how much to share with others.
You may be struggling in your marriage and you promised your wife/husband you’d keep it private but you’re not good at putting on a show and you’re worried it’ll slip.
You’re so far behind in your life + love goals and although you just want to hide under a blanket..you know that the pace is steady for you. Some others just look at your perplexed like “why aren’t you there yet” and you know better than try to explain to people who just don’t get it.
Your child is falling behind in class, is struggling socially and you’re losing your marbles…but festivities come first for now.
You feel like you’re failing at this parenting thing when you promised you’d do a better job than mom/dad/grandma/grandpa and over the holiday there will be hush whispers about how, though you sniff your nose in the air, you’re just like everyone else.
You’re trying to connect to God, your higher power or a sense of meaning and you’re feeling blocked….and you’re feeling sad and isolated
You know you’ll get pulled into a power struggle with aunt/uncle/grandma/dad/brother or ex/boyfriend/husband and you just dont want to make this one party as stressful as the others.
You’re grieving a loss of a recent miscarriage, mourning the loss of the family you’ve been yearning to create…yet are sitting with the silence an empty room next door.
You’re surrounded by the pains of death of a loved one, family member, close friend or pet…and you can’t seem to find a way to celebrate on your own this holiday.
If any of this resonates, know that you are not alone.
Many people are navigating dynamics as they face this time of year. At the same time, you always have choice in how you engage with today. This season. Right now.
If you’ve been committing to redefining your life, and right now, holiday seasons, keep reading.
Notice if there’s a pull to get tangled up in old thinking, or sucked into a reality of the past simply doesn’t fit for the you of today.
This is a time for you to choose.
To re-create, re-define, re-celebrate on terms that fit for you, and re-align with what is good and sweet for you.
Here’s what I want you to hold in mind as you recreate the winter/holiday season for yourself (and loved ones).
10 Tips to Re-Creating your Holiday Experience
You’re allowed to not feel OK around holiday seasons. It’s when you try to force yourself to be “fake” ok when you’ll feel worse. If you’re struggling; it’s ok.
2. Accountability & Planning.
If you want to find the best way to get through AND even use this as a springboard to a better future: Plan ahead. The difference between the successful change maker, changer of family patterns or dream creator is planning. Put your thinking hat on, dig into your skills and get yourself prepped.
Think and plan about how you will take good care of yourself so you get through with less emotional exhaustion, and rather, a rejuvenated spirit!
3.Personalized Hallmark Card.
Gather color papers, and write a happy holiday card to yourself, it may sound like “may you have peace, may you be surrounded by love, may you choose serenity…..” decorate it with pictures, flowers or images of loved ones. Creativity fires the “feel good” hormones and impacts how you feel. An individualized card can go far in delineating what this time of year can look AND feel like for you.
4. Create a structured day.
Decide how long you’ll “laze around” and at what point you’re going out, if you’re headed to a meet-up or taking your family on an outing. If you don’t have any family event, party or event you’d like to go to or haven’t been invited, plan so you feel prepped to get out and be involved in something. Invite yourself to some friends you feel comfortable with. choose to volunteer at a local organization, book yourself a massage and a night out at your dream hotel, indulge in your favorite food and listen to uplifting songs or podcasts that remind you of who you are.
5.Rescript & Redefine what holidays mean to YOU.
As an adult, you get to create what you want to add, let go of and invite in this time of year. What people have been impactful, who have you learned lessons from, what songs do you want to play , food do you want to cook and activities you want to engage in? You get to recreate experiences and provide yourself and your family a new way of celebrating. One that feels comforting for you, has less stress and more joy.
6.Individualized Sifter & Boundaries.
Decide in advance how much sifting you want to do with whom. You may feel totally comfortable being real and upfront with your long lost first cousin who you totally trust, but you may want to be a tad guarded with auntie sally who repeats every word she hears. Plan a watered down version to share with those who have not earned your trust. This is a form of self protection while still being able to engage with family/friends.
7. Drop the Shame.
Even if life hasn’t served you the “ideal life” or the hopes you’ve wished for (just yet) don’t carry shame with you. You are traveling this road called life and any honest person could share stories of how things sometimes tend to unfold at a pace that is right; and sometimes those are painful and sometimes they work out just fine. Regardless, your limitations, set backs, pains, losses, break ups or goals do not equate your self worth. It’s ok to be exactly where you are and not hold the shame. Drop the Shame and see how that feels. Replace the word with acceptance. Try that on.
8.Social Media Fast.
What better way to dig yourself into “pity party” than look at curated pictures of others who have picture perfect photos uploading by the minute. Yes we all know that the crevices of reality and imperfections aren’t portrayed online, and at the same time, choosing to look outward when your’ve vulnerable is usually a slippery slope to “Yuck Ville”. Skip the scrolling, or at least limit the time on social media and your mind and heart with thank you.
If you have a few extra minutes, take the time to get rid of things you haven’t used in a while. Old energy, unused items, clothes you haven’t worn in a while. Unclogging your energy and home environment frees up the energy and allows more ease and flow. What better time to celebrate openness and creating space for connection and serenity in your environments.
10. Free Pass (if needed).
Allow yourself to not be in “Holiday Gear Spirit”. Some phases of life, after a raw break up, a a fresh loss or unemployment, you may need to be inviting grief and let the holiday cheer hang out in the back until next year this time. Listen to what your body needs and go with that.
Take some time and skim over the suggestions and try one on. Notice how shifting your mind and approach may impact you in more ways than one.
and make this time a time of change, of re-calibrating and re-creating a new reality for yourself.
Change happens in small snippets, yet consistently making choices is what it is all about.If holiday season is kicking up old or new grief, is highlighting family dysfunction, anxiety or traumas that are needing healing, I’d love to be of help.
Psychotherapy and counseling is a form of focused, individualized support that provides a platform for healing. In my Cedarhurst office, I utilized various therapeutic methods that offer long term relief including EMDR, Somatic therapy (sensorimotor psychotherapy), Expressive Arts and Parts Work.
If you live anywhere in the Five Towns or in Long Island, NY and are ready to engage in deeper level healing to give yourself a better life, reach out here. I can’t wait to hear from you and help you take your next steps to a better life.