Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tis the Season

Tis the season!  Or so they say.  While the holiday season is full of excitement and cheer for many, there are many of us who struggle with difficult feelings that seem to intensify as the holidays approach.  For some of us, it is the hustle and bustle or the added financial demands that we find overwhelming.  Others may find themselves worried about family dynamics, relationship issues, or tension of another sort.  Still others may feel a sense of grief, loneliness, turmoil, or a bittersweet sadness that seems to accompany the holiday season.

If the holidays tend to take an emotional toll on you, know that you are not alone.  If this sounds at all familiar to you, do not add any undue pressure or stress to your life because you are feeling this way.  Perhaps, it might serve you well to approach the holidays a bit differently this year.  Perhaps, instead of getting caught up in the stress or forcing a process that you are uncomfortable with, you might consider doing something for yourself.  This year, I encourage you to put yourself on your Christmas list and engage in a little extra self-care. 

While it is not always easy to take time for ourselves, particularly during this time of year, it is certainly worth the investment.  Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings, whatever they are, and consider what it is that you need.  Perhaps you might benefit from a little extra compassion, patience, and self-reflection.  Maybe it is alone time you crave, social support, or a much-needed break from the demands of your life.  Or, it may be that you could benefit from reminding yourself to be realistic with the expectations you place on yourself, that it is okay to say no, assert yourself, or set aside differences.      Perhaps budgeting, planning ahead, and maintaining healthy habits is what you need.  Or, maybe it is something entirely different that you are looking for this season.   

Whatever it is that you need most this year, do not be afraid to give yourself that gift.  Give yourself permission to make yourself a priority and take care of yourself just as well as you take care of everyone else on your Christmas list.  Think of positive ways that you might transform your holiday traditions this year, even if it is just a bit, and allow yourself the freedom to make those changes.  As you reflect on what you are needing in the here-and-now, consider how you can be most present and content with where you are at.  Similarly, take a moment to smile upon your past while also asking yourself what you have to look forward to in the coming year.   

As you reflect on your feelings surrounding the holiday season and discover what it is that you need this time of year, I hope that you are able to find a way to incorporate such things into your holiday celebration.  Most importantly, I hope that you are able to find a holiday cheer that is most peaceful and meaningful to you. 

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