One of my fondest memories of Christmas is really simple: sitting on our living room couch, reading a letter from Santa. Back then, it was still a mystery: how the gifts ended up under the tree, how you could make a list and he just knew exactly what to get you, how he possibly got down that chimney. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped believing in Santa, but I do know my loss in belief aligned with my loss of holiday cheer. The holiday’s became something complicated, something I had to fight to believe in each time they came around. Often they meant more time at home which meant more time trying and failing to get along with my family. Once I moved out my holiday’s felt lonelier albeit calmer. This year I feel a mix of things. I’m sad. I miss my family. I know that I will make new traditions with my new partner. I know that celebrating comes in all shapes and sizes, there is no one-fits-all solution for how to survive the holiday’s, but here is a list of some of the things I’m prioritizing, both to keep myself sane and this December easier than previous ones.
~Daily gratitude lists and I mean DAILY.
They keep me focused on what’s truly important and they are really enjoyable to create.
~Making sure I’m reading just as much as I’m indulging in TV.
I’m trying to make my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year…I think I have 11 left. Do we think I can make it?
~Making sure I’m communicating when something feels off or when I am unhappy.
Communicating is key and although confrontation is difficult for me, I know that the consequences for staying silent are much worse.
~Trying to feel good in my skin as much as I can.
I’ve really struggled with this one for a while, but I know that feeling cute in my clothes, investing in special pieces of jewelry that make me smile, and saying kind affirmations to myself all help me feel extra good.
~Focusing on the good, instead of the bad.
I struggle with this one, especially because the world seems extra scary and sad right now. I tend to be a really optimistic person, but when I get down, I get down. Therapy has really changed my point of view on things as well as reminding myself that the things I have today, I prayed for last year.
~Embracing a vice that doesn’t hurt me
I’ve definitely struggled with my fair of addictions: from eating to relationships to alcohol, but recently I’ve been all about crystals. I’ve been collecting them for a few years, but started a brand new collection just the other week. I love having tangible reminders to help me stay calm and remind me of the beauty in small things.
~Keeping my eyes on my own page
This is actually some sage advice from my highschool guidance counselor, but I definitely still need it. Comparing myself to others whether on social media or in real life is always a sure way to get me down, especially around the holidays. Focusing on posting real and raw daily moments in my life and following people who do the same help me stay focused and less wrapped up in despair.
~Surrounding myself with love
It’s not about the quantity of people in my life, but the quality. I like to invest in my people who want to invest in me! It’s really hard and draining to befriend and stay friends with folks who can’t support you. I’ve done enough of that, so my goal for 2018 is to show-up & embrace being shown up for.
I hope these little bits of wisdom from many years of stressful and sad holidays help you conquer any fears you may have in the coming weeks. Remember you can say “no,” and that blood isn’t always thicker than water when it comes to family. You get to choose this holiday season, but I choose love and happiness for you!