The Holidays... What we don't post about.

It’s that time of year.

People start sharing their excitement for the holidays. Asking what you’re doing for the holidays. Talking about family traditions. Traveling to see family. Decorating. Posting pictures of family gatherings and celebrations. Blasting Mariah Carey… yea, you know the one.

It’s all flashy and shiny and wrapped in a bow. But what about the part no one really talks about?

The holidays can be hard.

Estranged relationships. Toxic family members. First (or fifteenth) holiday after a loved one has passed. Working and unable to travel to be with loved ones. Recent loss of a relationship. First holiday sober.

Seeing excitement in others can be an unwelcome reminder that holidays are a painful time for you. It can bring up feelings of loneliness. It’s okay to acknowledge this. It’s okay to create space for these feelings. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to cry.

Important: do this with someone safe. A trusted friend or family member, your therapist, your partner. You deserve to be heard. You are worthy of love and support.

Develop a short-term plan. Whether it’s distracting yourself at a family gathering by playing with the kids, skipping it altogether, volunteering to do the dishes so you don’t have to interact with a toxic family member, leaving before the heavy drinking begins, catching a meeting on the way home, planning extra quality time with someone who supports you, sweating it out at the gym, self-hypnosis... whatever has been working for you, have a plan to take care of yourself.

Long Game Talk: The thing is- it’s usually past pain surfacing during the holidays. Sure, what’s happening in the moment may be painful; however, our past pain amplifies the discomfort. We are rarely conscious of the impact past pain is having on the present moment and as a result we prolong suffering. If you’ve been contemplating finding a therapist or going back to therapy, give yourself that gift. There is no set timeline for therapy and it certainly isn’t something that’s close-ended.


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Treat yourself better and others will too.

“You teach people how to treat you.”

—Oprah Winfrey

Preach, Oprah!

Although this is very true it’s also very difficult to remember sometimes. Especially during times when people are pushing our boundaries and we are questioning ourselves and overanalyzing.

It might be your boss or your romantic partner or a parent or your child. Whoever it is that is asking even more of you… it can trigger the Second Guessing Syndrome. Oh, you know what the second guessing syndrome sounds like…

“Am I being too rigid?”
“Maybe I wasn’t clear when I told her/they/him what I needed”
“It’s just easier to let it go”
“Am I being selfish?”

It can get real confusing real fast and that can lead to caving under the stress and saying “yes” when it would serve your mental health much better to say “no”. It’s a slippery slope that can lead to feeling resentful and scattered. Self-care often becomes non-existent when we say “yes” to all the things.

It’s normal to struggle at times with setting limits and there may very well be times that it actually serves you to say “yes” to an opportunity even though you have your hands full with other things. The key here is knowing you have the option to let go of things that aren’t serving you any longer to make room for things that will.

Again, these can be murky waters because, “I don’t want to let that person down!”.

That’s why it’s important to have a few folks you can trust to remind you that taking care of yourself by setting limits/boundaries and saying “yes” to yourself is straight up self-love! It’s definitely not always comfortable but it does get easier.

Besides, who says we HAVE to be comfortable all of the time?