There you are, it’s the apex of the holidays. The candles are lit, wine has been poured and steaming food is on your beautifully set table. You have set down the last platter as family surrounds you in your home. Everyone is about to eat and you realize you forgot the butter for the rolls. You jump up quickly. “Nice hostessing!” someone calls out sarcastically. They are joking, you know they are, yet your stomach falls and tears spring into your eyes. You’ve worked so hard for this. Even the tiniest jab stings immensely.
Even during the warmest times, when we are surrounded by friends and family and filled to the brim with love, our darker emotions can come to surface. In fact, they are often even closer to the surface. Yes, we are often surrounded by those we love the most. But those are also often the people that know us the best… and know exactly how to push our buttons.
So how do we handle the overwhelm of feelings? First of all, despite the carols and the lights and the love, you have 100% permission to feel angry as well. Give yourself full permission to experience your full array of emotions as they come up. And yes, this will probably include sadness, disappointment, anger and resentment. Because you are human.
Family and friends can push our buttons but the pressure can really take us over the top. There is so much pressure to “do it all” during the holidays. The cards, the gifts, the cookies and decorating. But try to acknowledge that most of that pressure is probably coming from within. No one truly cares whether you get cards out or do not give cookies to the neighbors. Acknowledging that the voice of pressure is internal is part of the process of releasing this voice.
Also acknowledge that you will forget things over the holidays. You may have the best of intentions to move that elf every night or hang those cards beautifully or exercise throughout the break. But by January the checklist will not be complete, and that is part of the holidays too, and that is ok.
Throughout the craziness of the season check in with yourself frequently. What do YOU need to get through? Don’t let your needs go unattended. If you need to talk about the frustration, please turn to someone you trust and get it out! If you need time alone when your home is filled to the brim with family, take 5 minutes, or 50 minutes if you can! Steal away to your room and give yourself moments of precious silence and solitude.
Mostly give yourself a TON of appreciation. You are working so hard. You are meeting the needs of your family, your friends and many others around you. You are deeply loved and you are enough! And everyone that cares about you will be truly happy you are taking care of your needs. Even if that means saying “No, I’m so sorry, I will not be hosting the holiday meal this year.”