Do you feel it? The holidays can be a really stressful time! This year in particular there is a lot of desperation and aggression in the air. It’s been a rough few years for a lot of us and I think there is a sense that the end is almost here. It fuels our subconscious self to get rid of the last of whatever is holding us down. Honestly shedding the shadow self in this time of stress can really suck. You’re pressured into being holly n jolly but the truth is it’s hard to be that way when you’re evolving. Even more difficult are the people who come to you for support during this already stressful time. How on earth do you support friends and family without losing your mind?
Speak up. I had a horrible time adjusting to my new work climate and I needed support. I reached out to a friend and what I received was “benign neglect” She would respond when it was something easy and ignore me when it wasn’t. I felt it was a slap in the face and in reality she probably just didn’t have it in her to help me. But imagine how much easier it would have been if she had just spoken up and told me? I couldn’t get a response and so my initial reaction was to let go of that friendship entirely. In this season of release and killing off what we no longer need, it’s too easy to say goodbye. If you can’t support your friends and family right now, and you want to still be in their lives in the future, speak up and let them know where you are mentally, spiritually and/or emotionally. Nobody wants to feel neglected, but everybody can understand the need for space.
Do what you have to do for your mental, spiritual and emotional health; if that means saying no to parties and gatherings, so be it. If that means forgoing gifts or time honored traditions, so be it. You are in charge of your well being. Don’t worry about disappointing people or anybody else’s expectations; take care of yourself. I was friends with this amazing couple who didn’t have kids nor did they want any. Every holiday season though they were harangued over the “missing piece” in their lives. They decided finally that they had had enough and they created a new tradition. The holidays would be spent traveling! They have spent every Christmas for the last 15 years in Barbados. My kind of people. The point is, do what you have to to make yourself happy. Everybody else, grumble and groan as they might, will make adjustments.
Get up close and personal with your needs. What do you really need? This weekend in particular I really needed social time. I wanted to be out about in a laughter filled place. I didn’t realize that until i found myself out with somebody who isn’t particularly social and I felt like something was missing. So I went home and sat with myself and really figured it out. I missed the interaction of meeting new people, of trying new things, of intercepting new energy and making new friends. I wanted more spontaneity in an environment that felt comforting in some way. Pretty specific for me- And it came of just being honest with myself. Why wasn’t I happy? Oh because I compromised at a time that I should not have. This week I have been the opposite I have been wanting close interaction with trusted friends. I want to talk to somebody who knows me about the intense changes that have unraveled in life. I haven’t had a chance yet because everybody is crazy busy but nonetheless I know what I need right now. There is a plan in motion. I can blog and journal and track my progress, but at the heart of it I feel better already. What I need is scheduled, penned in my calendar and on its way. Weight off my shoulders for certain.
Watch for landmines. Man! People from God knows when are popping up to say hello at the oddest times. “Haven’t seen you in 10 years, just thought I’d stop by. How’s your mom?” Yikes! My intuition says it’s part of shedding the past before we move onward into the future but it’s not easy. It’s hard to know what to do in these situations and to be honest the best advice I can give you (if it’s unwelcome or too shocking) is to deflect. Everybody understands the rush of the holidays, let them know you’re incredibly busy and can catch up another time, or even after the holidays. If it can’t wait, pick the least stressful day of the week to pencil them in. It’ll be easier for you if its not a day where you’re juggling ten million things at once. Going into an uncertain interaction with a blast from the past is easier when you have your wits about you.
Holiday stress is no joke and when you can’t get the support you need there are things you can do to support yourself. Listen to yourself, mind your limits and take care of the things you need to manage right now.
God speed and happy holidays!