Surviving the Hectic Harrowing Holiday Hoopla.
The holiday season has arrived. It’s a busy time for psychotherapists. Or it will be: In January, when all of the re-traumatized, triggered, overwhelmed, lonely, exhausted, disappointed humans reach out for help.
No one is immune to the hectic harrowing holiday season hoopla. You may think that you’re the only one bewildered, lonely or sad. You aren’t. And if you’re super- sensitive and if you have high ethical standards and a social conscience, this may be a particularly tough time. It’s a crazy world right now. And if you’re like me, single and childfree, you might have mixed feelings while you watch the frenetic humans running hither and yon.
But whether you’re single and childfree or not, here are my recommendations:
* If this is a difficult, anxious time of the year for you, know that you’re not alone! Even those people with the big seemingly-happy families that you see on Facebook, are probably not all that perky. They most likely have one or two or ten obnoxious relatives who dominate the conversation and bring orange jello mold to the events.
* Now is a great time to rethink your holiday traditions, habits or expectations. What is it that you really want to do? Who do you really want to be with? What if this were your last holiday season? How would you spend it? Don’t wait until next year.
* Design a spiritual practice that supports your particular quirky connection to the Force. Maybe it includes a tree with ornaments. Maybe it includes the score to the musical Hamilton. Maybe it includes candles and wine. Perhaps you sit with the oak in your yard or you do tai chi by the lake. Whatever it is, make it yours. Let the Force be with you.
* Appreciate the quiet and peace in your home. Notice your exquisite woodwork.
* Order takeout for your holiday meal. Do not feel guilty.
* Start a blog. It’s a great way to express yourself and to feel loved.
* Move your body in ways that work for you. This can include exercise. It’s not a great idea to spend the holiday season curled up under blankets eating pie. I recently discovered Katy Bowman’s Nutritious Movement. You might also find it a good alternative to sitting through too many episodes of Longmire.
* If you’re single, get the book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. The author, Sasha Cagen, must have a rainforest mind. She’s funny and she dances the Argentine tango. Sasha created a movement for single folks who want to find a mate but who would rather be alone than settle for just anyone. In fact, they cherish their solitude.
* Find some young, deeply cared-for children. They might be family members or friends’ or neighbors’ kids. Watch them as they un-self-consciously sing and dance to the songs from Moana. It will give you hope for the future. This is what love looks like.
Chances are, you won’t be able to avoid the hectic, harrowing holiday season hoopla. But you can use it as an opportunity to reassess your life. Your choices. The meaning you want to make. The influence you want to have. Instead of being among the frenetic and the re-traumatized, use this time to find your voice. To build your path to a better world.
With or without the orange jello mold.
Paula Prober is a psychotherapist, blogger, author, consultant and tango dancer living in Eugene, Oregon. She blogs at Your Rainforest Mind, a blog in support of the excessively curious, creative, smart and sensitive. She writes about mental, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health for know-it-alls, geeks, dropouts, perfectionists, wonderers and empaths in her book Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth.