Does the holiday season send you into emotional turmoil?
Do you find yourself looking at others asking, “Why do their lives seem so full” and well “why does mine appear to be so empty?” Do you say no to parties just because you’ve had enough of everyone’s good cheer?
You're NOT ALONE. The holidays, that time period between Thanksgiving and New Years can be overwhelming. For just a few weeks out of the year, everyone appears to be happy and filled with a joyous glow that’s supposed to last throughout the year, but it doesn’t. And well, for you it may be hard to stomach the façade because there could be something larger brewing inside.
You may be reading this and saying to yourself but this doesn’t apply to me as I love the holidays BUT I ask you to keep reading because this is your glimpse into the shoes of someone else. As well as your reminder of why you should always keep your heart open during the holidays and throughout the year.
The holiday season comes with its own subset of expectations. The biggest one being you must be happy. But for some of you, you just don’t feel happy. And when you tell us that we should be, you become another voice in our head telling us that we know something is wrong. Be cautious when doting out well wishes and holiday merriment. Not just because you are uncertain of a person’s religious beliefs but also because you may be adding an impossible expectation to someone who is already depressed. The easiest way to avoid this situation is to be mindful of people as well as your surroundings.
The holiday season can become the biggest reminder of how your family has changed. You may have lost a parent, a spouse or a child and the holidays bring memories of happier times. There may have been a divorce or a separation and with that, your family dynamic may have changed.
In these times you may try to emulate the experiences that previously made you happy and when you do, it will most likely become one huge recipe for disaster. As you struggle to recreate the impossible you might find yourself spiraling down a lonely abyss. You might feel depressed, negative and unhappy. You might even feel the need to isolate yourself from those who care about you the most.
Holidays are not always joyous. For some, it can be the loneliest of times.
You may even feel holiday envy. You've spent a little too much time on social media and found yourself wondering how is this person always invited to these incredible parties. How do they always show up in the perfect dress? Why can't that be me?”
Or then you look at what appears to be the woman with the perfect life. From what you see she has the perfect husband, two perfect children, perfect home, perfect job, perfect family life and now she’s receiving these perfect gifts and having an epic holiday.
And then you find yourself sobbing into your phone, “Oh why in the hell can that not be me?’ or “Where did I go wrong?”
Get ahold of yourself sister because you didn’t do anything wrong. I promise you that what you see is not what’s real. There is more behind the closed door then what you are seeing, but you don't need to see it to know it's not real.
Envy can manifest in many ways and if it’s left alone it can become downright cancerous.
So I have to ask you something?
What is missing in your life right now that allowed you to be affected by someone else’s “perfect life”? In order to stop envy before it rears it’s ugly little head we must dig deeper into why it comes. Self-reflective tools such as journaling are imperative to understanding yourself on a deeper level.
I’ve compiled a few journaling prompts that will help you discover more about what you are seeking…
I couldn’t imagine living without...
The words I’d like to describe my life are...
What do I love about myself?
What do I loathe about myself?
When do I feel most energized?
What can I learn from my biggest mistake?
These questions should aide you in ending the vicious envy cycle and guide you on your journey to holiday bliss.
While the holidays can be overwhelming they don’t last forever. Face them head-on, with grace and realistic expectations for you as well as your loved ones. And if possible be grateful for the little moments that come and go and take deeper breaths during the ones that don’t.