YAAAAY…it’s that time again…aaand yay ( it’s THAT time again. It’s time for pie prepping, turkey carving, carol singing, and bell ringing…this a joyous time indeed! Kid’s are smiling, money’s flying, bows are tying…holidays are here! insert sarcasm here)
The start of the holiday season fills me with childlike glee! Buuut…( ) every year, like clock-work…it overwhelms me with annoying anxiety too. As a mental health professional and a teacher…I’m accustomed to and skilled to deal with the changes I know I’ll note in my clients and students as the “Holiday Hell” countdown begins. Yet…I’m never prepared to assess and address how it affects me. It’d be a little easier, I guess, if there were one specific thing that “itched my eyeballs” ( Self-disclosure time…Yippee Frickin Skippee ) buuuut…that’d be waaay too easy. Instead there this hodgepodge of memories, personal idiosyncrasies, and other random foolishness that always kinda pricks my nerves during this time. a term I use to describe extreme annoyance or discomfort
To start…my childhood home life was…let’s say ummmm a lot livelier than a “normal” home…and disagreements were frequent around the holidays. It eventually became sort of this “Bass Ackwards” tradition that holidays were the time to “fight”…and though I guess I adapted, it always made me nervous when that time rolled around. The crazy part is…the older I got, and the more accustomed I became, the more it affected me. Now that I’m grown, in my own house, with my own spouse…I think it’s the actual “calm”, “normalcy” and “happy” that scares me…because I’m always secretly afraid it’ll be short-lived. Sooo Now who’s “Bass Ackwards”? (a$$ backward backward for those that are a little lost…lol).
Then there’s my notorious lack of patience. Unfortunately… it’s no secret that during holiday time, slow traffic, long lines, rude customers, and hold-times that test your religion are the star of the “Holiday Rush” show. Traffic, Long Lines, Being on Hold…anything that requires me to be held temporarily hostage because of other people…makes me a looney tune. No seriously…I’ve parked my car on the shoulder during a traffic jam, just because the consistent stop-and-go until folks get it together, makes me nuttier than squirrel poop (don’t you judge me…lol). I legit think I need mood-stabilizers for traffic…LOL. Anyhoo…the constant rush, hustle, and bustle of holiday time makes me feel like I absolutely can’t deal
Finally, I admittedly overload myself. The childlike glee I alluded to earlier…yeah that…It’s to be celebrated, buuuut it also causes a liiiitle problem. See…I loooooove buying gifts, wrapping gifts ( decorating, cooking, hosting guests, etc.. But I always commit myself to too much, with too little time and then I’m overwhelmed, out of time, and slightly (secretly) exhausted and can’t blame anybody but me. Yep…I’m a piece of work. By the time the actual holidays get here I’m so worn out…it kinda dims the magical glow of the moment a bit at times if I don’t reel it in. it’s famous among my family and friends),
Add all of these things together and by December 31st, I’m ready to check myself into the “weirdo wing” of your nearest mental hospital.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds themselves a little “on edge” this time of year. If you’ve found yourself to be part of this illustrious and highly-coveted club there are a few things you can do to maintain your sanity…Here goes…
Set boundaries…Time, Emotional, & Financial Boundaries for travel, relatives, gifts, decorations, food, etc..
If you visit home (if you’re from out of state) don’t stress yourself trying to visit everyone…it’s not realistic and that’s ok
If you can’t afford to buy everyone the gifts you’d like them to have…that’s ok too
If you know that aunt that grinds your gears will be at the dinner table…keep convo with her minimal…you’re an adult now…small talk isn’t mandatory
Don’t feel guilty about declining invitations to holiday events if you’re not feeling up to it…it’s okay to take time to reset
If you know large shopping crowds aren’t for you, try to frequent stores later in the evening or earlier in the day if possible
If sad memories creep up on you, try and remember the good times, talk to someone who shares positive memories with those people/persons too, or have a good cry…that’s actually normal
Try and find some positives throughout the day…even if they’re small
If these don’t work…you can give these a whirl too…
When the holidays are over…hopefully I’ll still be mentally stable and maintaining a smile. I’m confident I can make it through…even if I’m hanging on by a thread…LOL. Hopefully, you can too…Hang in there…I’m rooting for you.