Hurray for the holidays, a time of joy and wonder! You wonder why you put yourself through this shit every year and feel joy when it’s finally over. BAH HUMBUG.
Okay–so maybe it’s not that cut and dried. What most of us feel during the holidays could most likely be described as ambivalence. There is, of course, the stress, and anxiety, and resentment and grief, but there is also the awe and the laughter and feeling of connectedness and purpose that many of us get from gift-giving, meal-preparing, and spending time with family.
In this episode of The Man Rules podcast, The Deep Dive guys talk about their personal holiday trials and triumphs and share advice on how to use this time of year to recharge and connect with what matters most.
If the holidays tend to leave you feeling less than jolly, try some of these tips…
1. Look For Ways to Help: Instead of focusing on how uncomfortable you feel, how people are judging you, how they are mistreating you, think about how you might be able to help others. Is there someone at the gathering who is likely just as uncomfortable, if not more so, than you? Do what you can to make them feel more comfortable. Basically, you just want to look for something to focus on other than your agony.
2. Stick to Your Self-Care Routine: It may not be possible to stick to your routine exactly, especially if you’re traveling or have guests at your house, but if you exercise every day, don’t stop doing that during the holidays. If you pray or meditate every day, don’t stop doing that during that holidays. We often feel obligated to spend every moment with family members during holiday gatherings, but you will enjoy your time with them much more if you don’t allow yourself to get worn down.
3. Maintain Your Boundaries. If you know that certain people, certain settings, and/or certain types of holiday gatherings cause a lot of angst and discomfort for you, try to switch it up. Instead of gathering at Grandma’s house for an all-day eating, drinking, and arguing marathon, suggest that you all go out to a restaurant. Everyone is more likely to be on their best behavior in public and you can leave after a couple of hours.
4. Write: If you’re feeling upset or disconnected one day during the holidays, just sit down and write about how you’re feeling without judgment. Are there any memories from childhood that come up for you along with the feelings? Write about that too!
5. Find a Moment of Solitude: Take some time each day to pray, meditate, or just sit quietly by yourself for a few minutes—Maybe early in the morning before anyone wakes up, or at night after everyone has gone to bed.
6. Slow Down and Be Aware: If you pay attention, you can feel an irrational reaction coming on in your body. Slow down enough to be aware of when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with irritation, resentment, or anger. and take a detour. Call a friend, take a walk, get some space, breathe. It may help you avoid doing or saying things you will regret later.