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Reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work this year

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas! Did you use some of the tools for dealing with the holiday? What pieces of the holiday were emotionally successful for you this year? What parts were not?

I have a little exercise you can do in your head, but may be best to do on paper or in your journal to sort out some things and to create some more tools for yourself next time around.


Journal Exercise

For this exercise, you’re going to need a journal. You can also try this with a bunch of pieces of blank paper you can easily save/put somewhere if you do not have a journal to use today.

Write the following sentence down:
Some things I loved about the holiday were:

Skip the next left and right pages, in case you need more room.


After skipping the next left and right pages, on the next page, write the following sentence:

Some things I had a hard time with were:


Some things I loved about the holiday were:

On the first page, under “some things I loved about the holiday were” write down everything you loved about the holiday. This could be things that worked for you, that made you feel happy, people you spent time with, things that happened that made you feel content, traditions you had that you either changed or decided to keep, all because they brought you joy, etc.

If you need more room, you have the next 2 pages to write on.


Some things I had a hard time with were:

On this page, after you have written what you loved about the holiday, write down some things that did not work so much for you. This could be emotionally, physically, etc. It could be traditions that did not work for you, how you missed your parents no matter how hard you tried, people you saw or spent time with did not help you, you spent most of the day in your room and did not come out, you didn’t call your family or they didn’t call you, you were stressed out and not relaxed at all, etc.

If you need more room, you have the next 2 pages to write on.

After you’ve written down the things you’ve loved and not loved so much about the holiday, go back and put a little check mark next the things you have full control over, for each list you have written. You may have to really think about this and go through this list a couple of times.  Full control means that you know you could change the outcome of the event, situation, or feeling that went well and the event, situation, or feeling that did not go so well. Sometimes we think we have no control over a situation, a feeling, or an event, but it’s possible that we could have control over how we handled the situation or where we put our attention. You may have to go through your list several times. Really try and be as honest as you can. When you think you are done checking off items, move on to the next piece.


Writing yourself a love letter

After you’ve made a check mark next to the things that you feel you can have control over, skip to a new page in your journal (or get a clean page to use if you don’t have a journal) because you’re going to write yourself a love letter. In the letter, you’re going to thank yourself for all the things you accomplished that worked for you and that made you happy. Start with Dear (your name here). Go back to the list and the items you checked off. Use these items to tell yourself, as if you’re your best friend, how that made you feel when you attracted those things into your day / holiday or made sure those things happened. Tell him/her how something almost went sour, but you decided to change the outcome, if that is true for you.

After you’ve thanked yourself for all the things you did to make sure you had some holiday joy, use the list and go back to the items that have check marks next to them. Express those things that didn’t work so well and offer him or her some advice about how it could be handled differently the next time that issue/event/person/feeling comes up. Be kind! This is not a time to be mad at yourself. This is a time to be kind and loving. You are talking to your best friend in the whole world and you really need him/her to help you figure this out!

Write as long as you want, you have the rest of the journal (or pages) to write. When you feel like you are done and you’ve covered everything and expressed yourself fully and honestly, sign it Love, and whatever name you feel like writing. You can write your own name or a nickname, whatever you want.

You never have to look at it again if you don’t want to but you always have the option to go back and re-read the whole thing or save it for a time when you’re having a hard time finding joy in a holiday or celebration. This exercise is to help you appreciate the things you DID do for yourself to have a good holiday and to find the things that didn’t work so well and decide how you could handle them differently in the future.

Remember to always be as kind and loving to yourself as a best friend or a child. You’re going to need YOU for as long as you are here. So be loving.