This year I find myself being a real grinch about Christmas. Which is a new experience for me. I’m typically the one who has her Christmas shopping done by Nov 30 and has been playing Christmas music since September. But, not this year. This year I’m simply looking forward to Jan 2 when I can put this whole holiday mess behind me. I can’t put my finger on a specific “cause”. Maybe it’s family stuff, or being single at 35, or maybe it just takes too much energy this year. Maybe you can relate? Whether you are hopped up on eggnog and enjoying every sparkling holiday moment or, if you’re not, here are 4 ways to be kind to yourself during the holiday season.
1. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. I am a champion avoider. I can spend hours or even days avoiding uncomfortable emotions. But the key to getting myself to a healthy place is to first acknowledge where I am at. Maybe, for you, where you’re at seems intolerable this season. I encourage you to be brave. Turn off the Netflix (or whatever else you are doing to avoid the feels) and bravely say to yourself, “This is what I’m feeling”.
Warning: these things come in layers. The first layer may be disappointment or anger that you need to make time for this stuff. That’s real. If you’re in the Christmas mood - take time to enjoy that. Whatever your situation is - be present with yourself. You are amazing and you are the very best company you have this season.
2. Remember the bigger picture. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is be in the moment because that moment is part of a large string of moments that make up our lives. Here is your fortune cookie mantra for the season: This too shall pass. So whether it’s snuggle time with your favorite littles or your auntie’s interrogation about your current life choices, this moment will not last forever. January 2nd will come. How you choose to be in these moments is solely your decision.
3. Write down your priorities for the season. This will help you determine what you can say yes to and what you may want to turn down. Hint: your needs get to be at the top of the list. When an airplane loses altitude, you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask first before helping anyone else because a passed-out-you is an unhelpful-you. Same thing with Christmas.
4. Give yourself the gift of boundaries. Boundaries protect the things that are important to you (see tip 3). If it’s important to you to maintain your financial stability, a good boundary would be setting a gift-cost-limit based on what your bank account priorities dictate, not family tradition. Unless family tradition is higher on the priority than your bank account goals - and no judgement from us! You do you, because you are brilliant. The key here is to make powerful choices based on what you want, not what you feel obligated to do. If you need to set a financial boundary and it clashes with family traditions, I suggest talking with family beforehand and letting them know you will be expressing love through gifts up to a certain dollar amount and they can look forward to spending quality time or receiving words of affirmation from you during Christmas. If you are prioritizing time-based-boundaries, I recommend focusing on the positive things you can do vs. what you can’t do. For example “I am able to attend Christmas between 2-5. I know this is shorter than usual, but I really want to enjoy my time with you guys and I will be most mentally and emotionally present if I limit it to a shorter time frame. Can I bring pie?” Pro tip: pie makes everything better.
Happy holidays guys. I hope these tips help you have kinder, more intentional holiday season.