It’s That Time of Year…
Deb Langhans writes to share some ideas on how to cope with the added stress of the holidays…
The holiday season–with its sometimes breathless succession of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s–is steadily advancing. (Geez, just writing that brings tightness to my tummy!)
Since my clients are already showing signs of increased anxiety, fatigue, overwhelm and grief, I felt the urge to touch on a few ways we can better navigate through this challenging time of year, especially for those who will be living through this season without a loved one–human or animal–for the first time.
It really all comes down to giving ourselves permission, permission to acknowledge and accept our humanity. Regardless of our credentials, socio-economic status or when we’ve suffered significant loss, we are all vulnerable human beings sometimes struggling just to stay afloat. Acknowledging and accepting that truth–without judgment or resistance–represents a profoundly therapeutic gift we can give, not only others, but ourselves. Here are three important ways we can encourage that gift and embrace our humanity:
1) Acknowledge and allow ALL our emotions, not just the holiday-approved and expected ones. Robert Frost once wrote, “The best way out is always through.” This seemingly counterintuitive perspective is especially true when grieving loss. And the therapeutic balm that soothes and enables us to process emotions in healthy ways? A mixture of mindfulness (awareness) and unconditional acceptance and compassion for ourselves.
2) Create more space and stillness in our schedules. Yes, I’m actually suggesting that, in the midst of the greatest annual pressure to do and be more, we set some boundaries and limits on our finite time and energy. Stillness implies regular periods of downshifting toward silence and rest, sometimes in solitude. Remember, serving others is only sustainable if we first address our own needs.
3) Honor the legacy of loved ones no longer physically present. Carry on holiday traditions that were meaningful to them; and/or consider creating new traditions in their memory. The point is to acknowledge and celebrate loved ones during this season instead of distracting ourselves away from their painful absence. Simple yet powerful choices can encourage positive, life-enhancing memories, even if tears and uncomfortable feelings temporarily surface.
4) Accepting support during this challenging season is my final suggestion. If self-compassion and acceptance, grief recovery and mindfulness are topics with which you could use support, I invite you to contact my Journeys To Healing practice where I offer wholistic life coaching, reflexology and wellness products: firstname.lastname@example.org; 360.378.8907.
I wish you the healthiest and most satisfying gifts of this holiday season.