We find ourselves once again speeding towards the end of another year…where did the time fly?
If you notice there is a frenzied energy that picks up as the year comes to a close.
Tis the season for the madness to come out in all of us…
Personally I love the last quarter of the year, the feeling of excitement and anticipation of “back to school”, clear crisp weather, the slight chill in the air that makes you pick up pace and get your your blood to start pumping.
The festiveness of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas…
Over the past few years I’ve observed with friends, family, colleagues and patients, a level of stress and anxiety at holiday time, especially around gatherings to “celebrate”. Be it Thanksgiving with family or the annual get together weekend, after a couple hours being together the atmosphere starts to degrade. Old patterns emerge and before you know, your are in some recurring scene from your family play (drama). Resentment surfaces because of the same old stories that come up and then there is the obligation of having to be a happy family “together” which wears thin. Slights, hurts, tiffs, jealousies and disagreements emerge. Sibling rivalry, jockeying for position, in-laws and out-laws become a source of discord. In some cases out and out shouting matches!
Stressful events will lower your immune system. It is not just emotional defenses that get worn away, but also your energetic, physical and spiritual strength can be diminished. We don’t realize the toll that it can take.
No matter how hard you have been “working” on yourself, a family event can undo your progress in a matter of seconds, and you may find yourself at 7 or 8 years old, wanting to beat the crap out of someone… What the F%@K how did that happen?!
Here is a clip from Kyle Cease, it’s called “How Enlightened Families Argue” Maybe you will recognize some of the the family themes.
Why do we tolerate walking into toxic environments over and over again during the holidays? This is the place to pay attention to the insight of what environments can infiltrate out best defenses and turn us into victims of circumstance. Why do we reserve a special place every year to revisit family hurts? Could we just agree that spending holidays together for the sake of “tradition” is probably not good for our health, and certainly not for peace on earth and good will to humankind? After all, the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. If we know that at the end of the evening we’ll leave with resentment and frustration, that lasts through out the year, why bother?
“A good rule of thumb is that any environment that consistently leaves you feeling bad about who you are is the wrong environment.”
― Laurie Helgoe.
Not all families are miserable during the holidays, but the idyllic Norman Rockwell scene is a myth for most Americans.
Forget about surviving the holidays, don’t expose yourself to the unnecessary stress and tension to begin with.
You may feel guilty, that you are not showing up and that you will somehow disappoint people, but you can always take time to be with family members in a different environment. You taking the first step towards embracing your health during holidays and interrupting dysfunctional patterns is the best way that you can help others.
Do something different; spend time with friends and people that make you feel good about yourself.
Create a new tradition of volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter, participate in a way that exemplifies THANKS and GIVING.
Mark the holidays as a commitment to sanity by pausing and help others to do the same.
You receive the gratitude for giving your BEST YOU to those that will appreciate it and need it the most.
Lastly give to yourself, take care of your health, in mind, body and spirit so that you can be generous to others!
Wishing all a joyous and healthy future!