How to Holiday When You Don’t Feel Like It

It’s that special time of year when the holiday frenzy begins in earnest. People are rushing about like mad, trying to accomplish all the things. The same person who says happy holidays to everyone they see just stole that parking spot you waited patiently to get.

The holidays are a time for family, creating memories, good food. This season is supposed to be about peace on earth – goodwill to man. But often, that’s not the case. You may be struggling with family dynamics. You may have experienced a significant loss, and this is your first holiday without the job, house, loved one. You may be experiencing life-changing medical issues or financial stress or a major move or the kids are not getting along or a million other things. You may feel depressed, resentful, or angry and then blame yourself for not being in the holiday spirit. Whatever the reason, you are not able to give yourself over to the joy that is “supposed” to be prevalent during this season.

With everything that bombards us, day in and day out, it’s normal if you’re struggling with holiday spirit this time of year. There are constant reminders of what we “should” be feeling and doing. And don’t forget, if you don’t buy the right presents or wear the right clothes or serve the right food, you just haven’t succeeded in life at all. At least the message we get from mass media.

The truth is, holidays can be hard for many different reasons. And it’s okay to allow yourself to feel what you feel and not be in the holiday spirit. If you are struggling, it’s not the time for self-blame. It is a good time to examine the reasons you are struggling. Give yourself grace during this season. One of my favorite children’s books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In the story, Alexander has a really bad day. From the moment he wakes up, things start to go wrong. He wants to run away, to Australia, to escape all of the things that are conspiring against him.  The story ends with Alexander saying, “It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.” I love that quote! It reminds me that it’s okay to have a bad day or even a bad season.

If you aren’t feeling the holiday spirit this year, begin with grace for yourself. Talk to a friend. Go somewhere that nurtures your soul. Go outside. Sit in nature. Just be still. Drink a cup of cocoa or coffee or tea. Read a good book. Snuggle your pet, your partner, your child, your teddy bear. Have a good cry. Pray. Start a gratitude journal. Look for one little thing each day that brings you contentment. Tell yourself you will be okay. Give someone a hug, which is a sneaky way of getting a hug yourself. 😊 Be kind to others. Smile, it releases feel-good chemicals in your brain. And remember, the way you are feeling right now won’t last forever.

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