Do you dread the holidays? The time of year filled with laughter, joy and lots of good food can be tortuous to those who have experienced loss, perhaps even more so in the midst of a pandemic. Memories well up, followed by sadness, depression, anger and emptiness. Being around lighthearted celebration can be excruciating, and with a raging pandemic, the holidays can be overwhelmingly lonely, especially if you are alone in quarantine.
I’ve lost loved ones, and I know how sad the holidays can be without them. Yet I have learned to view things from a grander perspective, and in that process I have grown and blossomed. I know things can shift for you, as well! Let this year be different (in a positive way!) Don’t be victimized by your thoughts and emotions. You are a powerful being who can make a different choice!
1. Recognize that you are bigger than any thoughts or feelings you are experiencing.
When you are feeling grief or sadness, don’t resist the feeling. Allow yourself to feel it. Where does it show up in your body? Does it make you feel contracted, small or diminished? Acknowledge it. Notice how it makes you feel, but don’t judge it in any way. In this way, you move away from emotionality into a state of neutrality. You begin to recognize that you are not the emotion. Now declare, “I am bigger than this!” Remember a time when you felt happy and joyful. Expand into the sense of love, joy and well being and feel the feeling.
2. Realize that everything you experience is an opportunity for personal growth.
The feeling of hopelessness comes from being trapped in the illusion that you can’t change your circumstances. What if you realized that everything occurring to you is part of your specific curriculum in the school of life? No one said school was easy! Rather than getting caught up in a cycle of counterproductive thoughts and emotions, look at the situation more objectively, and wonder out loud, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I handle this differently?”
3. Remember that you have a choice, every instant, to see things differently.
Nothing is set in stone. As your thoughts and perceptions begin to change, your life will shift accordingly. When you realize that people show up in your life as your teachers and students, and that your time with them is a gift, the appropriate response is love, appreciation and gratitude for your time together! I believe that we are surrounded by unseen helpers in the form of Spirit, angels and guides. Ask them to help you see things from a different perspective, and notice how your perceptions expand and shift. In fact, the very realization that you have a choice in how you view your circumstances creates a space for thoughts and feelings to shift.
4. Give of yourself this holiday season
Give of yourself this holiday season and notice how giving makes you feel. Since giving and receiving are the same, when you give from a place of love and service, you will receive in kind. Just try it and notice what shows up in your life.
I would love to hear from you. Please let me know how these strategies work for you!
With love and blessings,
Although the holiday season can bring a sense of excitement and joy for many people, it can arouse feelings of sadness, stress and loneliness for others. From the hustle and bustle of cooking, shopping, and entertaining, to the social engagements and often unrealistic expectations, “’tis the season” can generate a not so merry and bright feeling in the hearts of many. Fortunately, there are things you can do to experience a holiday season that is more joyful, if you choose to do so.
Since your thoughts create our reality, be sure to notice your thoughts during this time. Choose to have different thoughts and feelings about the holiday season so that you rewrite the stories from your past and start to create new and happier memories.
If the triggers or patterns from the past keep you stuck and repeat themselves every year at this time, choose a different way of interacting. Before you simply react (as you have many times before), challenge yourself to see things from another perspective. Ask yourself, “What if I could see this situation from a different vantage point, more objectively or from the other person’s point of view?” Pay attention to what you are physically feeling and notice how your body is responding to the stressful or upsetting situation. If possible, get to a place where you can close your eyes and do some deep breathing so you can begin to feel more peaceful. From this space, it will be easier to work through your feelings and open yourself to see things with more empathy and compassion.
Recognizing that certain environments and people have triggered your reactions over the years can allow you the freedom to choose to have a different response this year, or participate for a shorter time.
Another way to ward off the holiday blues is to make sure you practice the art of extreme self-care. What do you need to be happy “normally”? Can give yourself a little extra? More sleep, more time to be alone (or less), more exercise. Sometimes a treat, like a facial or a massage, can work wonders. Be very attentive to taking care of you.
If you’re missing your loved ones, the holiday season can be especially lonely. Be gentle with yourself.
Don’t stuff your emotions, allow yourself to feel them, even if they’re not comfortable. Be proactive by setting up a support system before the holidays. If you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to support for yourself by reaching out to others. You are not alone! There are plenty of people feeling the same way you are.
You can also boost your spirits by volunteering or being of service to others. Since giving and receiving are the same, you will feel better about yourself when you reach out to support other people.
If you find that memories of holidays past generate sadness, why not find new ways to celebrate the holidays by creating a different tradition? It’s also important to take time for yourself by exercising, or walking in nature, and be sure to get enough rest.
Are finances a source of stress or anxiety this time of year? There are many ways you can give a meaningful gift without spending any money at all! The gift of your time by running errands, babysitting or pet sitting, housecleaning etc, might be greatly appreciated by your loved ones. You may be providing them with a solution to a problem that has been causing them stress! These services can add up quickly so if they are short on funds, your gift would be most welcome.
Finally, it’s more important than ever during the holidays to set good boundaries. It’s okay to say no to things that you don’t want to do. Sure, some people may be disappointed but don’t feel guilty about choosing to do what would be the best for you. After all, this is your holiday season too!
Give yourself the the gift of the extra time, attention and love you need and deserve this season so you can be relaxed and joyful… and enjoy your holidays!