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Holiday Blues

By Leila Briggs


Every year, in our town, Santa comes around each neighborhood on a firetruck. They run the sirens so you know he’s on his way. All the kids run outside to wave to him and Mrs. Claus. Leila does too! Haha!

 

Twice now my best friend has been visiting, when Santa has visited our street. No matter what we are discussing or where we are at, I run outside to wave. My best friend gets a kick out of this and has commented my “Christmas joy gives him Christmas joy.” I definitely feel that joy this year. However, that’s not always the case.



Some years I am a curmudgeon. It takes everything I have to enjoy a family dinner or string a strand of lights. Some years I just want to snuggle in and pretend the world doesn’t exist.

 

So, what do we do if we don’t feel the holiday cheer? What if the holiday energy is too much and brings the grumps?

 

Well I can tell you what not to do. Don’t shame yourself. Some holiday seasons are rough and difficult. While other holidays are full of grief and loneliness. Some holidays are just, “meh.” And that’s okay. The great thing about the holiday energy and the emotions it brings is it’s temporary. Like most everything.

 

Years ago, I took an intense weightlifting class with my sister. I had been lifting for two years at that point and thought I would be just fine in the class. Actually, I expected to excel in the class.

 

I did not! I could barely keep up. I felt shame, embarrassment, and even anger at myself. I also felt the burning pain of my muscles and lungs being pushed to their limit. Over and over again, the instructor screamed, “this is only temporary! Everything you are feeling in this moment is temporary! It will pass, so push yourself.”

 

It struck me. Perhaps in an effort to self soothe, I became focused on how the instructor’s repeated words could be applied to energy and more importantly, to emotions. What is permanent within energy and emotions?

 

I realized my guilt and shame often prolonged the pain, grief, and anger. It made what would be a temporary experience, not only more painful; but more prolonged. In the moment I grounded myself in the pain of my body and tried to let go of the shame. I made an effort (still do) to change my inner narrative of self humiliation to, “it will pass, this is only temporary.”

 

If this holiday season you’re just not feeling it, regardless of whether you celebrate or not, give yourself a break! There’s no need to shame yourself. Maybe this holiday isn’t your best one. That’s okay. Rest easy in the knowledge that the energy and the emotions of this holiday are only temporary. It will pass.

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