How was your Thanksgiving holiday? Rushed, stressful, or just right? Do you feel like you got a break, or was it all too much? The travel, the food, the emotions.
Now here we are looking ahead to what is described as “holiday madness.” We are inundated with messages to “buy, buy, buy,” lest there be nothing left. We are bombarded with images of gifts that are out of reach, trips that others are taking, and picturesque family gatherings that leave many feeling alone or less than.
This year, I find myself determined not to let it all get the best of me. A wise counselor said to me last week, “You know, Maria, this is my busiest time of the year. People struggle during the holidays. They take stock of their lives and their relationships. They often don’t like what they see when they come face-to-face with their grief and their loss. This time of year can make many people sad, scared, and depressed.”
Everyone, he said, is dealing with “lots of stuff” that you can’t see. I share this in case you find yourself shallow breathing. In case you find yourself wondering why you feel the way you do during the holidays, wondering why you feel alone, or why it feels like too much. I want you to know you are not alone. If you find yourself in a very good place, God bless. If you don’t, hang in there. A new year is around the corner, and to get there in the best shape possible, you need to try and manifest what your dreams are for this coming year. Yes, you have dreams. Dig down and find them again. Don’t label them small, stupid, or impossible. Just visualize them. Notice how you feel when you see yourself in them.
Manifest how you want these holidays to go. You can do that. Yes, you can. You can use your mind to envision the kind of holiday season you want to experience. You can write down for yourself how you want the next few weeks to feel. You can do this every day before you start your day. Expressive writing is a game changer. So is moving your body if you feel anxiety. Rise, stand up, jump, and brush off the anxiety from your body. If the materialism of this season has your fear guard up, think about alternatives that are right in front of you. You can write notes to loved ones instead of buying gifts you can’t afford. You can make something and drop it off. Nothing beats an in-person visit. You can chip in toward group gifts at the office. You can sponsor a family who is looking for help. This is a sure-fire way to feel better about life and yourself (in fact, here is an organization my daughter asked us all to participate in).
You can focus on a "centering practice" that grounds you so you can be a solid, steady energy source for yourself and others during the holidays. You can limit your time on social media, especially if you find that it makes you compare yourself to others. You can limit your news feed if you find it elevates your blood pressure. These are all the things I’m going to be doing because I know if I don’t, I could go down a rabbit hole of comparison and judgment. I’ll find myself reminiscing about the past and thinking about how it used to be when my kids were little, instead of allowing myself to enjoy what is right in front of me, which is all we have.
No doubt your reality is magical in its own way, especially if you are blessed to be healthy this season and gathering with those you love. Think of those who might be sick, who might have no one, or nothing. Keep them in your heart during this time. I was struck last week when I read that the happiest young people in the world live in poorer countries. Now that’s some food for thought. So today, know that the tools you need to enjoy this season are within you. They truly are.
I’m going to focus on the delight in my granddaughter’s eyes. She says “wow” every time I show her a Christmas decoration that I’ve had since her mother was a little girl. I’m going to focus on being grateful for my children’s health and my own, which I know is a gift. I’m going to focus on my ability to make a cozy home and invite others into it to feel at home. I’m going to focus on doing what I can to make our world kinder and more compassionate. On some days that’s really hard. I have to dig down really deep and remind myself not to jump into the fray just to prove a point, but I know it’s important to stay my course and rise above the noise. Regardless of how someone else might treat me on social media or in person, I always try to remind myself that their anger and their stuff is about them, not me.
Here at The Sunday Paper, we will do all we can to support you through this time. Our mission is, as always, to elevate the voices of those who are moving humanity forward. Our mission is to help you feel safe, seen, supported, and less alone on your journey. Our mission is to light the way forward and to remind you that love is all around, that joy is within reach, and that we are more united than you know. Our mission is to try and understand what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes and do what we can to make the load a little lighter. It’s a mission we can all get behind, because it’s about the larger “we,” not about you or me.
This holiday, may we all remember Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” So move forward. Take it day by day. You’ve got this. You are capable of manifesting your best holiday season. Let’s go.
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