The beautiful contradiction of the holiday season is this: We have an internal longing for peace, reflection, and harmony… yet our calendar (and our families!) often can send us in the opposite direction! As a result, holiday anxiety is a real thing this time of year.
The gap between our expectations (“We need this to be the best December ever!”) and our reality (“What? We can’t have the annual Ugly Holiday Sweater party, my mother is still haranguing me about my partner, and our company is looking at layoffs?!?! Happy f’ing Hanu-Kwan-Mas!”) can create even MORE drama and stress.
It’s easy to feel like we’re failing, or we’re not enough, or that life (and our jobs, and our families, and our friends, and our cooking, and well, everything) just sucks.
As I got older, as genuine loss and tragedy accompanied many of my family’s holiday events, we sat down with a good helping of sorrow, loss, fighting, and booze passed around the table like a bowl full of mashed potatoes (accompanied with a nice ladle of guilt and shame!). We wanted to create something different, but we just didn’t know-how. Outer conditions told us what our life meant. We didn’t know about the tools we needed to create an inner shift that would allow us to show up differently for each other.
The more stressed we are emotionally and physically, the more likely we’re going to fall into old patterns of behavior and thinking. That’s why it’s critical that you take time, push the pause button, and find nurturing ways for managing holiday stress.