Surviving The Holidays: A Mental Wellness Reminder
Tis the season friends! This time of year is filled with the glitz and glamour of life. Homes are filled with cheerful moments that create life long memories to look back on. Unfortunately, for some of us, this time of year can add on an entirely new level of stress. Many people suffer through the additional anxieties that this time of year can bring. Not to mention, the entire world is experiencing its own challenges as well. Fortunately, I am one of those who have struggled during this year and I want to share with you a few things that have made it easier for me to manage during this time of year. A year that's filled with gatherings, events (in person or not), and pressures to get and give material things.
When I think of this time of year and the things that have stressed me out in previous years, there are three main areas that come to mind.
This time of year is the most difficult on the pockets of many people. Considering the year that we all have had, thinking about making purchases for our loved ones can seem more like a burden than a privilege. The best piece of advice I can give here is really simple.
Do what you can. Most of your loved ones will be able to understand ( especially this year with so many people having a hard time maintaining financial security). Another huge thing about gifts that has stuck with me is the importance of not attaching value to giving and receiving. A lot of us that battle with anxiety worry about if someone will love the gifts that we have given them. Sometimes I second guess myself, "Was I thoughtful enough?" "Will they even use it?" "Do they think it's cheap?" If we're not careful, those questions can lead us into a negative spiral. "I wish I could have done more." "I don't deserve what they gave me because my gift wasn't near as good"...and on and on and on. We have to remember that material things do not equate to what we mean to people. We are bigger than material things. Do the best you can. Give from your heart and have peace.
Next is ya mama'nem.
I can remember one year my family got together to celebrate Christmas and instead of us gathered together enjoying the season, we were all spread out fighting. I remember cussing everyone out, throwing my clothes over the balcony of my parent's house. "Fu*k y'all. I'm done trying to be everything for y'all. I do the best I can to love y'all and I'm done."
It was a fun year.
Since that year I have always made a decision to protect myself. As a mother and an example (I'm the oldest of 7), I could not let that happen again. I was so embarrassed. From that year forward, I've drawn the line on what I will and won't talk about because I'm on a very special, personal, unique healing journey. Remember, everyone may not be on the same growth journey as you. Some will even reject your journey out of ignorance. Protect yourself during this season. Set up boundaries. Show up, show love, but when it gets to be too much, you can always excuse yourself. You as an adult are not obligated to anyone, but God and yourself. Although you are spending time with the people who raised you and were integral in your growth and development, it's very important to remember that you can choose to not discuss things or choose to not argue about things that you know aren't going to result in anything positive. Love on them, love yourself and enjoy your holiday the best way that you can.
Finally, this is an area that I believe a lot of people do not discuss during this season and that is expectations. When I say this I mean that there are generally a lot of events and parties and things that the people you love want you to be a part of. Hopefully, this tip can help you remember what matters.
Your mom is planning a night of cookies and Christmas movies and your hubby wants to take you ice skating because you've been hinting about it since the leaves started changing, meanwhile,
your college bestie tells you she's coming into town with her hubby and two kids and wants to set up a playdate so your families can catch up. When does it end? This time of year merits so many things that require your time and attention. In order for you to show up and shine you have to prioritize yourself. Even though events are sparse it's important to mentally and emotionally to give yourself time to recharge so that you can be what everyone loves to be around. Yes, we want to practice social distancing, but a lot of places are still open and people still want to enjoy their holiday season. My point is to just remember to take time for yourself during this season. If you have to say "no" to a get-together to avoid anxiety and keep your peace, do NOT feel bad about that! You will thank yourself for it in the long haul.
I really hope that overall, you enjoy this season and time of year. Although it's not what we are used to we can still take time to enjoy this time of year while keeping our sanity!!
See you all in 2021! Much Love!