What happened when I wasn't around?
Who did what?
What went down?
Get real, Get real
Think about myself it happens to me
It happens in the tunnel when I let myself feel
Get real, Get real"
~ David Bowie ~ Get Real ~
Hope everyone had a great Christmas and enjoying the holiday break. We had an opportunity to visit with out of town family and friends. Such a beautiful time to just be together with loved ones. And this year in particular, I really enjoyed every moment. Moments of laughter, silliness, joy, reflection, giving, receiving, sharing, love, bliss, tears, rememberance, and gratitude. All these emotions and experiences jammed packed into 5 days can also bring on a truckload of expectations. But this year, I managed those ... expectations that is.
You see, with expectations can come happiness but almost always comes disappointments. And with disappointments comes anxiety and with anxiety comes stress ... and so on. A stressful time no matter how you slice it. In addition to the usual family issues to handle and all the reactions therein, the media tends to portray how our holiday “should” be. Mix in the financial pressure and over spending issues ... this can be a challenging time.
Reflecting back on my previous blogs about the “perfect gift” ... understanding that receiving what is provided with no expectations is just as important. Not getting caught up in what the holiday should look like, how it should feel, and what you’re going to get or how people are going to react to a gift you are giving ... all of which can dominate our minds ... bringing so many feelings of deep anger and resentment.
So how do I keep it all in check but still make the most of this glorious time?
First, I stay away from romanticizing the holidays. I keep my levels of expectations quite low and accept what was right in front of me. Light bulb moment ~ I have realized that instead of wishing what could be, I accept what is ... sometimes what is provided by those you love is all they can give. Acceptance.
Second, I Get Real. I know that I am blessed to have those in my life who love, respect and support me. I know that at the moment, I cannot fully indulge in the delights of the season due to my therapy but my loved ones understand and work around it instead of feeling sorry for me.
Third, I have an Escape Plan. Yes you read that right .... as you know I am all about detox! detox! detox! and that goes for my external environment just as much as my internal environment ... so if I find I am in a situation that I find overly critical, I remove myself from that environment emotionally and literally if need be. Meditation, Hot Yoga and Writing are my outlets. Find a safe place, a sanctuary, for you to retreat.
Fourth, Breath. Being mindful of your breathing ~ deliberate and deep. Sometimes just letting it all out, a sigh of relief, can make a big difference. Shallow breathing and fight or flight situations go hand in hand.
I know that I am not alone when it comes to the potential stress holidays can bring. Yet remembering that YOU have to take care of your emotional, physical and spiritual well being because if you don’t, who will?