Tag Archives: Emotions

Oh The Holidays…

As the song The Twelve Pains of Christmas points out in its own humorous way, not everything about the holidays is merry and bright.  There are those things that we find to be stressful and frustrating.  And let’s face it, the holidays bring up many emotions – not all of the emotions are ones we enjoy experiencing, especially during a celebratory time like the holidays.

So how do we get through the holidays if our experience with them is filled with anxiety, anger, or angst?  How can you learn to be on the offensive and not the defensive?  How can you see the holidays as not just a challenging time, but also as an opportunity for growth, change, and healing?  How can you learn to be present in the moments such that you are grateful and enjoy yourself?

In general, being honest with yourself so you can clearly identify your triggers along with a willingness to see things differently are keys to a successful emotional shift.  Having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve when you head into those otherwise stressful holiday situations can also make all the difference.

  • If family togetherness is more than you care to handle, try these ideas:
  1. Prepare yourself before you go – in many cases the things that upset us the most with our family are things that happen every time we are together, so expect it and don’t hold on to it. Let it go as soon as it comes.
  2. See those family members who push your buttons through the eyes of love – remember they are doing the best they can given where they are on their own journey, and while that doesn’t always take away the sting of some of their comments it can help you release those things rather than hold on to them unnecessarily.
  3. Don’t take things personally, rather be filled with compassion – they may be struggling with their own feelings about the holidays or other things in their lives and as such may not be able to relate to others in a kind or loving way. Develop and use a mantra, such as “I am love, you are love”, to help you release those things when they happen.
  • Crowds not your thing? Try these tricks:
  1. Do some deep breathing or meditation before you head into a crowded place – get yourself to as calm and centered a state as possible before you enter the stressful situation.
  2. Have a strategy to do what you need to do in that crowded place and then leave – a little pre-planning is invaluable at times like this. Get in, do what you came there for, and get out – there’s no need to stay any longer than necessary as it will only add to the stress of the situation.
  3. Consider alternatives – do you have to go to that crowded place, or can you go somewhere else? Do you have to go at a specific time or can you go at a less crowded time? Consider all your options – don’t just do something because it is what you have always done or is what everyone else does.
  • If you get frustrated with that crazy, busy schedule created by all the holiday happenings you have to attend, then try these tips:
  1. Learn to say no when you can – it is tempting to say yes to all the holiday get togethers but your sanity is important too so consider not going to everything you get an invitation for. Maybe alternate your attendance each year between the events you really enjoy and let the hosts of those events know you appreciate the invitation and plan to come next year if invited.
  2. Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them – honor yourself and your loved ones with boundaries that give you the time you need for yourself as well as for holiday festivities
  3. Get creative – if you are one of those lucky people with multiple family members to visit on any given holiday, think of creative ways to bring everyone together in one place (like maybe your house) instead of running to 3 and 4 places. In many cases your other family members will appreciate the opportunity to not have to be the host all the time – it can be a win-win for everyone.
  • Feeling miserable because of too much food (sugary and otherwise) at the holidays? Try these suggestions:
  1. Re-set your portion size for the holiday – knowing there will be many tempting foods to partake in, consider rethinking portion sizes so even if you eat more things than you planned, by eating smaller portions you have a better chance of not actually increasing the overall volume of food you intake.
  2. Sample rather than eat – use the holidays as a time to try things, which means samples not full blown meals or portions. It’s okay to try things, but we want to try not to overdo it.
  3. Love yourself no matter what happens – practice forgiveness. It is okay if you had more than you wanted to have – it is a special time of the year. Recognize what happened, accept and love yourself, and let tomorrow be a new day.
  • If you struggle with the “keeping up with the Jones” syndrome and get stressed trying to outdo your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues in the area of decorations, cookie making, gift giving, gift wrapping (you get the idea), then take a deep breath and consider these options:
  1. Let go of the need to compare – do what brings you joy, not what makes you the talk of the family, neighborhood, or office
  2. If you can’t let go of the competition, then give yourself permission to ask for help from friends or family to accomplish all these things you want to do-
  3. Consider how you can turn that competitive spirit into a positive force – think creatively about how to join forces with your “competitors” to do some amazing things for others this holiday season. Turn it into a little friendly competition that benefits others in the process.

Don’t dread the holidays – take them back on your own terms. Try some of these ideas and be open to enjoying your holidays a little more than maybe you have in the past. Make a few small changes in how you approach the holidays and who knows, you might actually have a happy holiday this year!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!!

The Bittersweet Taste of Life

“I feel extremely lucky, extremely grateful, and a little bittersweet, too.” – Wentworth Miller

It is amazing to me how many different emotions we are able to experience as humans. Not to mention the fact that despite all the words we have available to us as we try to explain those different emotions, it never seems like we can find the right words to thoroughly express how we actually feel. Those emotions, numerous and varied as they are, are extremely hard to explain using our “limited” vocabulary.  Our words just never seem to fully capture the vastness of the emotions we are able to feel.

What’s even more amazing to me is that we can experience so many of those different emotions all at once. Surely we have all had the experience of feeling a flood of emotions – it’s both amazing that we can experience so many emotions at once but also very difficult to process as well. At times it can almost be too much to comprehend, and it certainly can be overwhelming when you are feeling all of that at once.  What amazing creatures we are indeed, but what torment we can cause ourselves at the same time!

At no time has all this been more evident in my own life than this past week. The final hurdle to completely closing one chapter of my life and being able to start the next one is finally about to be removed. In just a few weeks life as I know it now will cease to exist and a brand new opportunity will begin in full force.  I’ll be moving and living a much more minimalist lifestyle while focusing on my writing, coaching business, and continuing to set the stage for my ultimate dream of living and working overseas.  It is so exhilarating to finally be here – it is the culmination of several years of hard work on myself and my personal goals, not to mention the generous support of amazing friends.  At the same time though I have to own the fact that this transition is also scary, sad, stressful, and very bittersweet.

So many thoughts and feelings rushing through my body at one time. Stress about the quick timeline. Fear of actually taking this next step.  Excitement for the opportunities that lie ahead.  Sadness over leaving this chapter behind and of letting go of so much in the process of moving on.  What a strange combination of beautiful and difficult emotions all wrapped up into this one human body.

The path to get here was definitely not paved with rose petals and laughter. It was a long and hard road filled with a lot of disappointment, sadness, struggle, heartache, and frustration. But the end result, reaching the first of several really big life goals I set for myself, is totally worth it.   Bruno Mars’ quote sums it up quite nicely I think:  “There’s always a bittersweet kind of thing, but I feel like everything had to work out the way it is. Everything that had to happen, happened.”

On some level I will miss parts of the chapter of my life that I am currently in, just as I somewhat miss certain aspects of all of the previous chapters of my life. But I know the kinds of opportunities in store for me in my next chapter, and I am super excited to experience those things. Bittersweet, yes, but totally worthwhile and exhilarating just the same.