Yes, it is this time of year. Holidays cheers everywhere, Santa’s bell are ringing, anticipation is in the air. But with those excitements of the holidays, comes some ‘un-invited guests, STRESS. We feel that we need to get things done, presents lists checked off, chores completed. We are invited to many Holidays get- together, office parties, family events, friends celebrations, and though it is delight-full to enjoy all these events, it is often mixed with stress of time, financial strains, or even loneliness.
For many of us, holidays are a time of painful memories, ‘first holiday with out mom’, first Xmas tree decorated alone, first holiday with only one parent… At times we can be lonely even where we are not alone, feeling that all around us are cheerful and content, ‘why can’t I feel joy’?
Holidays celebrations bring people together; families, tribes, communities and friends. We travel long distances to connect with loved ones during the Holidays. We naturally turn to each other, to our people, to get comfort, joy, and connection, because we know that being in touch with those we love is reassuring and joyful.
During this time of year, many people come down with the S.A.D syndrome. As the beauty of Fall gives way to the dark of Winter, as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, when this seasonal change begins, it comes with a sense of foreboding. For some it could be as serious as S.A.D (seasonal affect disorder)— for others, it is just the natural hibernation of winter, or the stress of the holidays.
Few months present the multicultural celebrations that December does! Whether you celebrate Christmas, St Nicholas Day, Kwanzaa, Yule, Hanukkah, Solstice, Diwali, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia, Eid al-Fitr, Boxing Day, Saturnalia, Three Kings Day… or any other holiday this month, chances are that it is celebrated with LIGHTS, music, food and family.
It is good to teach our children people’s traditions. It is important for them and us, to cherish our own holidays ritual while learning to be tolerant and respectful of others. In this excellent writing, all the different traditions are being explored and explained.
The Winter Solstice occurs on either December 20, 21, 22, or 23 in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the shortest day of the year. People all over the world participate with festivals and celebrations. Long ago, people celebrated by lighting bonfires and candles to coax back the sun. At times of darkness and cold weather, we try to bring in lights and warmth.
Winter Holidays traditions around the world include colorful lights, sitting around the fire, singing hymns and carols, decorations, music, special foods and feasts. Here in the US, our celebrations include giving gifts, parties, and family get-together, which can be wonderful and yet can also be stressful.
Families can be a source of strength, connection, love, and caring. It can also be a reminder of violence, neglect, abuse, and disconnection. Around the Holidays, many people experience some kind of P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), with reminders and flash backs, of times in their past where the Holidays were a time of dread, addictions, and dysfunctions.
It is important to help those in need around the holidays. Most of your local charities organizations and groceries store offer gift and food donation places. Though hunger and poverty are not reserved for the holidays, it is a time of giving and sharing, so please stop and remember those who are more misfortune than us.
Here are some tips to watch for, prevent, and cope with, holiday stress:
1. Be realistic. Holidays don’t have to be PERFECT or ‘just like last year’.. Allow for change and flexibility. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
2. Stick to a BUDGET. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Often we feel the need to spend money to show our love. But many times presence comes before presents. And baking cookies or fudge can be economical yummy and fun!!
3. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus, make your shopping list, know how much time it takes to accomplish what you hope for, and take into account that everything takes longer during the holidays, including traffic!
4. Acknowledge your feelings. If you or someone you close to, has recently experienced a loss, or can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. Be honest. Express your needs. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
5. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. So often we overextend ourselves only to feel spent exhausted and depleted. Set clear boundaries even with family and friends.
6. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Don’t neglect your daily practice of exercising, yoga, or meditation.
7. Take time to do NOTHING AT ALL!!!
8. Don’t forget to have FUN and JOY.
One way to ward of holiday stress is to Give your self and your loved one, the GIFT OF CONNECTION!!
I’m delighted to be offering my next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop in Nevada City CA on January 28-29th, 2017.
Owen Marcus, MA, author, workshop facilitator, and TEDxTalk presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, will once again be assisting me.
Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight Workshop, by offering his depth, support, and perspective to the couples in our workshop.
Here are the links to Owen’s work: http://owenmarcus.com
Owen’s TEDX talk: What 10,000 Years Of Progress Has Cost | Owen Marcus | TEDxSpokane
At our Hold Me Tight relationship enhancement Workshop – participants will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness and INTIMACY.
As I keep the groups small and intimate, if you know you want to sign up, I will encourage you to do so shortly, as they do tend to fill up.
This is a great opportunity to have a deeper and vulnerable look at your relationship, develop new skills to recognize the cycle and patterns that inflict the relationship and keep you separated and apart.
It is also a beautiful time to connect and highlight the strengths of your relationship, and build on the positives that already exist.
Please do not hesitate to Contact me with any questions or for more information. Looking forward to sharing the workshop with you and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Autumn season.