We are bombarded by messages of holiday cheer this time of year, yet many of us have mixed emotions around the holidays. Even Santa must have mixed feelings about Christmas as he rushes to fill toy orders and deliver them all in one night. And added to his stress, is to guide his reindeer around wind farms – perhaps Santa should ask for a GPS this year!
For the rest of us, the reasons for mixed holiday emotions are many: missing loved ones who have passed, stress over finances, unresolved health issues, worshipping a faith that does not celebrate Christmas (or doesn’t believe in Santa Claus), living far from family and friends, or simply that time passes by so quickly and another year is nearly gone.
Acknowledging and processing your complicated or conflicting feelings about the holidays is important. Embrace all of the feelings that arise – happy, sad, indifferent, confused, mad, anxious, or bored. Your emotions are valid. Once acknowledged, it will be easier to respond to your mixed emotions in a healthy way.
For example, if you’re missing a loved one or are far from home, continuing holiday rituals and traditions may be the balm needed to ease sadness. Alternatively, starting a new tradition may be appealing. Perhaps volunteering at a soup kitchen will change your thoughts away from your financial stress to focus on the needs of others. There are many options available.
Ask your Self what would comfort or console you. Emotions always have important messages for us. Listen!