I am sitting here writing this post in disbelief that we are in the full force of the holiday season. It feels like we can’t even walk into Target without having Christmas being thrown in our face or scroll through Tik Tok without seeing a hundred holiday challenge videos. To be honest, I am someone who has always embraced the holidays and I have always found it enjoyable to be around my large rambunctious family as we reminisce on the old and embarrassing memories. However, it seems different this year, although I am definitely looking forward to family time and gathering, I am also finding myself feeling more overwhelmed emotionally and mentally.
I know that the feeling of being overwhelmed this holiday season isn’t just something that I am dealing with, because as someone who works in the mental health field and it being the year 2020, I am very aware of the heaviness that most are feeling. So, if you find yourself in the place of feeling more overwhelmed and stressed out about the holidays, then this post is for you. I am going to encourage you to keep reading, so you can hopefully find some helpful thoughts and nuggets of encouragement.
It is important to state first things first, IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK. This is a phrase that is often shared but rarely believed and accepted. If you are struggling due to reasons like the following (although definitely not limited to); spending your first holiday (or another holiday) without a loved one, struggling financially and physically due to the nature of this year, or trying to adjust to a transition in life that you didn’t see coming then it is ok to not be ok.
Not only is ok to not be ok but more importantly it is expected to not be ok.
So, I need you to try something for me this holiday season, give yourself the permission to not be ok and not always having the strength within you to fake it until you make it. For some of us allowing ourselves to not be ok, is one of the hardest things that can be asked of us (yes hello 2w1). However, it is when we give ourselves the permission to not always pretend that we are ok, is when we give others permission to see that and acknowledge that as well.
This brings me to the next point, and that is granting ourselves permission to set boundaries (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual). I need everyone to hear me (yes, including myself), we need to start setting some boundaries when going into the holiday season. This can look like the following (although not limited to) not having to answer every personal question asked (especially if you don’t have an answer), not feeling pressured to hug those you haven’t seen in years, not engaging in political talk, or setting aside time for you to just take a break and be by yourself to just breathe without apology. It is important to remind ourselves that setting boundaries DO NOT mean that we think we are better than, we are being rude, we are being standoffish, or that we are not appreciative. That is important to remind ourselves of that truth because it seems to be the lies that convince us otherwise that stop us from setting some healthy boundaries. The truth is, the older we get and the more seasons we walk through in life we are going to be required to set up some boundaries to protect space. What we were able to handle last season of life may be different, and that is ok to need to shift and readdress our boundaries.
Boundaries aren’t meant to keep people and things out of our life (restrict us), but they are simply to give us the authority to share our space as we see best fit.
I want to close this post by saying, my friend, it’s ok if this isn’t your favorite time of the year. It is ok to also have moments of laughter and pure joy, so don’t think it has to be one way or the other, or that you aren’t worthy of having a great time. This time of the year (especially in 2020) can be one filled with so many mixed emotions and moments, so give yourself the grace to experience them as they come. The holidays this season may seem a little heavier, but just remember you aren’t expected to carry the burden alone.
Until Next Time Friend