With all the excitement and projected fun, why do many feel blue and sadness during this time of year? I hear from many in my practice that the Holidays seem to shine a light on their lives showing where they are in the moment. Sometimes this direct realization can be great, but other times, a bit unsettling. Those of you who have lost someone or something important this year such as a loved one, marriage, home, family pet will understand that doing the Holidays without this special someone/thing can be difficult. If your life is not where you want it to be, maybe there has been a job loss or move or maybe you or a loved one are chronically ill, then the Holidays make this challenging too.
The common thread to all of this is EXPECTATIONS. The Holidays bring about an expectation that things should go a certain way or feel a certain way and when they don’t we either feel disappointed or greater still maybe even feel failure. Sometimes it is easier to glide through life and not notice where we truly are until something makes us…forces us to stop and assess. Holidays are notorious for that. “I am supposed to feel connected” "I am supposed to be with my kids on Thanksgiving” “I am supposed to be happy..it’s Christmas!” All of these self messages become loud enough to hear when something as magical as the Holiday season forces us to feel our lives more authentically. Sometimes the dissonance between what we feel should be happening and what is happening makes us want to hide.
I don’t suggest hiding at all. What I suggest is moving through the Holidays mindfully. Make mindful, purposeful decisions every step of the way. If you all of the sudden feel blue, take a step back. Ask yourself what just happened to create that? Find out what you can do in the moment to stop the spiral downward. Sometimes it is more than stopping or controlling the impact of the negative. Sometimes it is guarding what is good and increasing the possibility of positive connections and experiences. Make use of time and activities. Only do the ones you want to do…the ones that fill you or other family members. Who says you have to over schedule yourself and attend everything to which you are invited? When you spend time with family, pick something meaningful. Start new traditions. Whatever you decide to do, remember that it IS a choice and that you CAN navigate the holidays mindfully and wind up better and more fulfilled on the other side.