Pretty much everyone that blogs is writing about the holidays in one way or another right now. And therapists are filling the Web with how-to-get-through the-holiday-season pieces. I'm no different (obviously) and it's for good reason.
For better or worse the holidays shine a light on all that's there and all that's not.
Anger, irritability, sadness and anxiety are all common (and understandable) feelings and yet after hearing client's stories I almost always sense an underlying grief. It's palpable. Sometimes its around the loss of an actual relationship, but more often it's the grief associated with the idea of a relationship with a partner, friend, family members so on.
I believe that grief is real too and should be honored. I also believe that in addition to practicing acceptance and finding space to feel your feelings, one of the most important things we can do is to love-up on ourselves fiercely, in all the ways imaginable.
You may be wondering what that even means. Fair enough.
And it depends - which is my initial answer for most everything, but ultimately the goal is to be kind to ourselves, to comfort ourselves during a time when the pot is full-on stirred and our wounds are tender.
Maybe it's about practicing kind self-talk or maybe it's something more elaborate. It really doesn't matter as long as the result is you feeling cared for.
For some this idea may feel indulgent, especially when the message we receive is that the winter holidays are about giving to others. Okay, I love that idea if it feels right for you. But here's a truth I hold close: you can not give from an empty well.
Ultimately, acts of self-love enhance our relationships with ourselves and increase our capacity to offer grace and empathy in situations or relationships that otherwise prove challenging.
Also know that if you are finding your feelings to be overwhelming