Now that I'm older and have been through a few Christmases, I understand why my mother-in-law would go to her bedroom and shed a few tears every Christmas gathering. I find myself doing the same thing and not even knowing why. Sometimes its because I miss someone, or remember something, or just feel confused and frustrated.
But I do know that Christmas brings out all sorts of funny feelings.
I'm not talking about the stress of spending money that we shouldn't spend or the list of Christmas duties that is way too long--I'm talking about the memories that are triggered by the pressure of a family holiday.
Like when Uncle Ron comes to the house and wants to drink too much and tell icky jokes. Or the tension between adult brothers that sours the air in the room. Or the children's tantrums as they "patiently" wait to open presents--and just can't do it anymore. I'm sure you have your list of things that don't match up to the fairy tales on TV. Here are three things that will truly help you cope better this holiday season:
1. Stay hydrated. (My clients get this one cause it always comes up.) If you keep drinking your 8-10 cups of good water every day, your blood can flow more quickly and cleanly and remove the toxins that want to build up from the extra stressful times we're in.
2. Take a few minutes every day to meditate and go to the quiet rooms in your headspace. It does make a difference to do a routine of quiet or soft-music meditation so you can calm your mind and ground your soul. Imagine a long cord going from your spine deep into the earth. It pulls up all of the good earth energy to keep you focused, clear, and grounded for today. Then, see yourself being showered with glittering light from above. Surrounding you in love and warmth.
3. Begin and end the day with a gratitude list. Something that you can feel. Like your grandchild's smile as he looks at you. Or the feel of the cozy blanket and cup of tea and a good book. Or the memory of the conversation you had with a friend today--and you laughed. Feel it. Re-live it. Appreciate it.
We may not be able to control what happens in our holiday gatherings or the events leading up to them, but we can do a few things that will affect our attitudes towards them. And, remember, you don't have to keep doing things like you did them in the past. You don't have to go to someone's house if Uncle will be there and will make you uncomfortable. Or you can limit how much time you stay. You can make choices for yourself, too.
By doing the three simple things listed above, you will be on the right road for some peace and stability during this busy time of year.
Beginnings Require Endings
I know that its Christmas time and feelings are everywhere. Some good, and some not so good. And the list is long of what you need to get done before the big day(s). I've been thinking a lot about the meaning of Christmas: the things I want to keep in my life, the things I want to let go of, and the person I want to be.
For those of you who know the Christmas story with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Mary was a teenage mom who was told by an angel that she was pregnant with the savior of the world. Talk about a new beginning! This was heady news for a young teenager. What would she do?! She could have run to hide (she did visit her cousin), or she could have risked being stoned to death if she went another route with her truth. Instead, she did what the angel said and told her fiance the news. A whole new beginning.
Here's one thing I've discovered:
An ending doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving up – it just means that you’re starting
again, but in another direction. Mary couldn't give up, because the heavens were depending on her. Or for us, it doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on a job because you quit working at your place of employment. It does mean that you don’t see a good reason to continue in the present job, so you’re going to begin another that will take you more in the direction you want to go.
New beginnings require that you absolutely bring an end to the part of your life that
isn’t working for you and bring in the positive thinking of the new life you’re about to
enter. Read Mary's story and you'll read her song of rejoicing and acceptance of this new beginning in her life.
Try this one on:
• Change your mindset – Change your mind about whatever isn’t working in your
life and concentrate on the steps that will lead you toward the changes you want
and need to make. Think of the changes as positive forces in your life. For
example, if you want to change your dietary habits, think of your old ways as
unhealthy – poison to the system and taking years off your lifespan. Mary had to move forward. She needed to change her mindset and take the action that was required of her.
I'll share more tips on how to make a successful new beginning in your life. I've had to (and chosen to) do it several times, too.
You can do this.
Certified Body Code Practitioner, life coach and energy healer, former non-profit executive with years of experience in caring for and about people and their place in this world. Friend of refugees and immigrants, ally to the addiction recovery community--all with respect, love, and compassion for mutual healing.