Cue the warm, cozy fires. Happy families sitting around the table engaging in friendly banter. Lights and decorations in homes and around town. Heartburn and weight gain. Carolers and warm scents and lots of sweets. The low (or irritatingly loud) background sound of holiday music. Kids’ events, family events, work events, community events. Baking and cooking elaborate meals and treats. What do the holidays mean for you?
Holidays aren’t the same for everyone
For some of us, the holiday immediately elicits visions and memories of connecting with friends and family. Shopping and gifting and eating, in no particular order. Drinking and laughing and dressing up, again in no particular order. Foggy windows from cooking and overcrowded homes full of love and joy.
For others it’s a reminder that a loved one will not cook a favorite dish, tell that one story they tell every year or fill the room with their presence and laughter. Or a reminder that they are alone, that there will be no invitations or events or the warmth that only love and kindness can bring.There will be people who find themselves celebrating differently this year too for maybe they’ve moved, married, welcomed a new child to the family or are seeing their children for the first time in months as they return from school or the armed services.
Maybe this year will be full of uncertainty because of recent changes like losing a job, divorce or making the challenging but necessary decision to step away from family.
The point is, we all have different realities and the holidays can be an unforgiving time for those of us who do not have the TV or Instagram version of the holidays. It can be also be an exhausting time for those of us who feel the pressure to make the holiday TV or Instagram worthy. The folks who are feeling just fine with holiday – thank you very much – stop reading here or share with someone who may find the these tips helpful 🙂
Tips for creating an intentionally restorative holiday:
1. Begin with checking in on yourself. How are you feeling? An invitation here to welcome ALL of the feelings, not just the good ones. Pay attention to your meta feelings and meta cognition – what are you feeling about your feelings, what are you thinking about your thinking? Practice removing the judgement (the shoulds, shouldn’ts and don’t wannas) and really just sit and notice. Write down your feelings or say them aloud. What’s one thing that can make you 10% more comfortable? What are your feelings telling you that you need for yourself during this season?
2. Now is a good time to identify and clarify your values for the holiday season. Your pain points (the hard feelings) are usually a good indicator for what you value. For example, if you find yourself feeling lonely, a value may be quality connection. It could also be creating a new holidays rituals or traditions like volunteering or checking out some meet up groups. What does that look like for you? Take some time to be clear on how to make this holiday YOURS.
3. Allow your values to be the compass, to guide and help you with creating your holiday plans. If your list of values includes restoration, it may mean checking in with yourself to clarify and implement boundaries like saying NO to that extra work event or holiday home project and choosing instead to curl up with a book, taking a walk or hot bath or going to dinner with good friends. Could also mean taking a break from social media to just be. Whatever it looks like, courageously embrace and embark on the value – it’s yours!!
4. Practice grace and self compassion!! To some this will seem cliche and potentially foreign. Identifying and embracing new values for the holiday season will be a new journey for many of us. We will make mistakes along the way. And that’s ok! it’s ok to not get it just right, we’ll likely discover more about ourselves. Just know that we are all deserving of grace and self compassion. What’s right is to be kind to ourselves. Loving ourselves deeply is how we learn to truly love others.
Need More Help? We’re Here For You
While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s a place to begin focusing on how to create a meaningful holiday that belongs to you. If you find that you need more support, our Detroit, MI counseling practice has caring therapists who specialize in individual online therapy. We are truly ready to meet you where you are at. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
1. Contact Introspective Counseling
2. Meet with one of our empathetic therapists for life transitions counseling
3. Start learning how to thrive, not just survive.
Need Support Now?
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or visit the Lifeline Chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.