It’s that time of the year.
Starting with Labor Day, holidays tumble round us, closer always than our busy schedules allow us to think they are. We’re all still surprised to see Christmas promoted at the same time that we’re barely thinking of retrieving scarves, gloves, boots and hats from their summertime repository. You know, the closet, way in the back.
Among the moments of joyful anticipation, there may be bittersweet longing. Depression or anxiety may cause you to grit your teeth to face the holidays with little more than grim resolve. Holidays are unlikely to measure up to the media images of friends and family gathered around a Martha Stewart-decorated table.
For many, these are tough times. Our nation is troubled. Many are struggling financially.
Youth may be worried by an uncertain future. Relationships may be disrupted
by illness, death, or financial or emotional insecurity, and it is no
secret that the holidays can serve as a magnifying glass, making
pre-existing problems seem even bigger.
But you are not helpless in the face of the forced gayety in which you find yourself. Here are some tips:
First, take heart. You can safely remind yourself that this, too, will pass. But it isn’t time that is healing; it is what you do with it. So, take charge.
Write down some things that you can do for yourself that feel good, and do some or all of those things.
Get yourself out of your self-imposed exile and go somewhere, visit someone.
Give of yourself. There will be enough left, I promise.
Make a spectacular dinner and invite someone about whom you care. You can let it be tuna casserole. It doesn’t matter.
Make an appointment to grieve mightily if you need to. That’s right, give yourself permission to feel what you feel and do it with all your might. Your ability to feel is one of God’s gifts to us and is, after all, what makes you human. Honor your grief by spending some time with it, privately and for a limited amount of time. Then, leave it. You can return to it another time if you need to.
Make your own golden moments by seeking out connection with those you love.
Share your feelings with someone whom you trust.
Take charge of sifting through long-standing traditions. Keep those that you want to maintain and start a new one. Get creative. Have fun with it.
Go to a place of worship. Allow yourself to feel peace. Peace.
Think about what gifts are supposed to represent. Give one. Give many.
Let your gifts be about something far more meaningful than any money you may spend.
Don’t compare yourself and your own situation with what you perceive others may have. Don’t believe the magazines or the everyone-loves-everyone-all-the-time stories on TV.
Spend some time with children.
Get enough sleep. Eat. Drink plenty of water.
Go for a walk at night when it’s snowing. Bundle up.
Make a short-term goal and a long-term goal. Savor the anticipation of
of attaining them.
Find a way to help someone who needs something you can provide.
Let the message to people you love be that they matter. The message to you from your loving Self is that you matter.