There’s a lot of pressure around the holidays. My therapist (yes, I see one, and she’s fantastic) says that this is her busiest time of year. She’s booked daily until Valentines Day. She says this can be the most depressing time of the year for many people. It can bring up old memories, conjure up wounds with family that are not yet resolved, and has the potential to make you feel, well, not so jolly.

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback and traffic regarding the issue of the holidays and missing your parents. So far, I’m happy to say that I’m doing pretty good this year! I’m creating new traditions with my family and friends and so far, dealing pretty well with not having my parents. This will be my 7th Christmas without my dad and my 3rd without my mom. I took my own advice and sent out holiday cards to friends and family for the first time in my life and it felt really good! The key is to not expect anything in return. The reward is NOT what you get back, it is in the giving. TIS THE SEASON 🙂

I’ve heard people say:
“Now that my family has shifted, Christmas will never be the same.”

This is what I have to say to you:
“The only thing constant is CHANGE.”

That’s what a 99 year old woman said of the thing she learned in life that stuck out the most. I saw that at a film at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. It’s true, Christmas is never going to be the same. You will have to accept that change happens, and it’s going to happen often. The only way to really be happy is to accept change, and try to find a new normal.

Here are some more tips on how to enjoy the holidays:

What does that mean? It means focus on the NOW instead of the past or the future. Most of the time, our brains are stuck in either place, which creates anxiety and stress. You can’t be stressed out if you’re completely present. That’s the truth. If you aren’t sure how to be present, just focus on your breathing. When your mind focuses on the IN and OUT of breathing, it forces you to be present.

Allow things to be different and welcome the change. By resisting it, you are creating more pain for yourself. Even if it’s not the scenario or life situation you want, accept that it is there as if you had chosen it.

With the shift in your family and traditions comes a NEW NORMAL. Help yourself and your family create a new normal by being okay with what is. What is, is exactly that – what is there.

Make a new connection with someone or kinder up an old one. This can be with family, friends, or making a completely new friend – this includes YOURSELF Make sure to try and stay extra connected to others and to yourself.

Create a back up plan if you are uncertain of your ability to be around friends or family. If you feel comfortable doing so, communicate to them that you are not sure how you are going to feel this year, but are interested in joining them, but you may (end up going home, staying home, insert thing here).

If the holidays are a big bummer, plan something that has an UP feeling to it – that makes you feel better and allows you to feel joy. A movie on christmas? a movie at home? Hulu on the computer for the night? A good conversation with a friend? Crafts? Art? Writing?