Writing is therapeutic for some people and I am one of them. I have been struggling with something and since I have an outlet to share, maybe it will help you if you are having trouble too.
I am not feeling the holiday spirit yet. I don't know why and it bothers me.
Usually at this time of year, I am telling people "Merry Christmas!" as I check out at the grocery store or do my shopping but I have no desire to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sour-faced and grumpy (no grinches allowed), I smile and am pleasant. It's just that the little extra cheer is not here yet. I guess I have a case of the "holiday blues."
I'm trying not to blame anything or anyone but we always look for reasons for things and it drives us crazy if we cannot find them. We think that if we can find the reason then we can fix it.
So what the heck is going on? I'm trying to be grateful for all that I have and am able to do. My life is filled with blessings and I am making a conscious effort to be thankful for all of them every day.
This may sound trivial to some, but our weather has been less than holiday-ish. (I know that's not a word but you know what I mean.) It snowed once or twice but it isn't sticking; even with cold weather it just isn't feeling like Christmastime. It really does help to have a white Christmas in Wisconsin.
This time of year, we tend to look back and review and try to look forward to next year and I'm doing that too. I'm truly excited for 2024 and have some big plans so there's that to be happy about.
This weekend I put up the Christmas tree and decorated the house hoping that would help. I like taking the everyday photos and other items off shelves and replacing them with the red and green of the holidays. I have a collection of Lefton holly dishes, cups and candle holders that I love to display and use this time of year so I put those out. I love Christmas lights inside the house and put them up in various places to enjoy. I even put out my Christmas village this year.
Maybe part of it is this expectation that we are supposed to be happy and cheerful this time of year. I have been listening to a local radio station that plays only Christmas music right now and realized that "the most wonderful time of the year" may not be true for everyone.
Maybe I'm feeling the losses of 2023 and the struggles more than I realize. I have talked about losing my cousin earlier this year and I think about her everyday. She is so very missed by everyone who knew her and this holiday season will be hard for her friends and family. I also have situations in my life with people that are hurting and I cannot help them. Solutions that look so simple to me are not and I am trying very hard to be patient and accept that. I am realizing that this wears on me daily.
I guess my message for this post is it's OK if you are not feeling holly and jolly right now. If the bells aren't jingling and you don't feel merry and bright, it is absolutely OK.
I have learned that when I am not sure why I am feeling blue that it helps to acknowledge those feelings. I literally tell myself that I know these feelings are there and they are not bad or good, they just are there. I am not sure why or how this helps me feel better, but it does. As I think about it now, acknowledging those feelings as a part of me, gives me a sense of self-worth. I do not need to be happy all the time, that isn't even possible, so acknowledging that I do feel sad sometimes and it's ok is important.
Journaling (or blogging-wink wink) is also so helpful for me and maybe it would help for you too. You don't need a fancy journal, just grab some paper and start writing whatever comes up. It may also help just to talk to someone about it; you may be surprised that you are not the only one feeling like this. Sharing your experiences and hearing about others can be therapeutic for both of you.
I want to be clear that I am not an expert on mental or emotional health. I am just sharing my experience with you and telling you what helps me in case you are going through something similar. Or maybe you know someone who seems "off" right now and you want to help and need some suggestions. We are bombarded with so many negative messages and events from the outside world and we need to stick together and check in on each other.
I recently talked to a podcast guest about grief during the holidays and that bonus episode is coming out later this week. Mandy Capehart is a grief educator and she shares some experiences and tips for navigating the holidays with grief and gratitude. I learned so much from our short conversation and am happy to share with all of you. I also released an episode with Pam Bohlken who lost her grandson to a fentanyl overdose two years ago. She has been working through her grief by finding ways to uplift and support young people. Both of these women have messages that will resonate with all of us in some way.
You can find these episodes HERE.
Thank you for reading this therapy (for me) blog post and don't think I'm sitting on my couch all day crying in my eggnog. For one, I do not like eggnog and two, I am working on trying to find that holiday spirit. I will get there I know, I just need to be patient and keep focusing on the positives and what I can control.
Until next time, take care of your beautiful selves and I will talk to you soon.
If you are struggling during the holidays or any time of year, please know you are not alone. People care and want to help. I have listed some resources below if you or someone you know may be having difficulty now or any time of the year:
The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.