But is it?
In reality, the holidays can be hard. We’ve been indoctrinated into a society that believes family and a large gathering of friends is crucial to experiencing in the wonder of the season. But who feels more pressure than wonder?
I know I do.
Many of us dread these expected holiday events. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. What it means is that you might need to reevaluate how you participate in the holiday season.
For this holiday season, I encourage everyone to consider three things when making plans to celebrate their chosen holiday(s):
- What do the holidays mean to YOU? Consider your options. As a child you didn’t have a choice of which holiday to celebrate or how or with whom to celebrate – or what celebration during these times even means. As an adult, you now have a choice. You can create your own definition. When deciding to venture out for holiday cheer, consider what cheer means to you, how much cheer you are getting, how much you are giving, and how much energy is spent in between.
- Know your limits. We often feel obligated to attend dinners, parties, or just to be with certain family or friends for holiday celebrations. If being in these environments triggers you, consider how much time fulfills each specific obligation. We don’t always know what emotional reactions will occur when we immerse ourselves in holiday gatherings. Taking the time to consider what feels right for you can help to know when you’ve had enough. Put some thought into how much you can stand and what you might need to do to manage difficult situations when they arise, and always have an exit plan.
- Be kind to yourself. We’ve all heard the saying that a little bit of kindness can go a long way. And it’s true. We often think about this as being kind to those around us. I’d like to argue that being kind to yourself is just as important. Kindness directed inward can be grounding and transform conflicts into something more palatable.
Yes, family and friends are important, and it’s important to be respectful of others’ feelings during this season. However, it’s just as important that you take care of your own needs – because only you can know what to do to take care of you.