If you're feeling anything but merry and bright this season, we just wanted to remind you and ourselves that you are not alone. That disconnection and never-enoughness are symptoms of a sickness buried deep in the cellular makeup of our society. If you've already gotten this message from a million and one directions this holiday season, that's great—we think it bears repeating over and over because it's so easy to forget it. Shocker to no one, the holidays can make our emotional landscapes pretty complicated...
Sky-high expectations means bigger letdowns when those expectations aren't met. Excessive travel and social engagements mean thrown-off routines, less sleep, more time spent small talking (my literal nightmare), not to mention more exposure to unfamiliar bacteria and viruses and higher risk of illness. Spending money we don't have or wish we had more of and all the feelings that go along with seeing others with more or with less. Complicated family dynamics! Missing a loved one who's no longer with us! So much booze! Not enough sunlight!
Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, hibernating animals—pretty much every stronghold of conventional wisdom teaches us that winter is the time we should be doing the very least. But, as is an American tradition, we've flipped that logic on its head. Instead, the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's we're expected to do the most.
All that to say, you're not alone. We're not alone. Show yourself some tenderness and forgiveness. Extend that tenderness and forgiveness to others. And, this holiday season, do whatever you've gotta do to keep your head on your shoulders and your feet on the floor. Jingle bells and perfectly wrapped presents and a Bûche de Noël with marzipan mushrooms are just icing on the cake.
Self-care isn't all face masks and manicures—that's called pampering. Pampering is fabulous, but when the going gets rough, we've gotta double down on attendance to our most basic needs, like staying hydrated and rested, taking deep breaths of fresh, cold air and communicating personal boundaries. I say this like it's easy—it's not! As a very Enneagram Type 3 owner of a start-up and a mom of toddlers, I'm the literal queen of saying yes to way too much and then crying into my husband's chest at 3 am about being overextended/exhausted/depleted. About being a bad mom and friend. About feeling like I'm letting everyone down. About just wanting to read a book or go on a hike once in a while. About how there won’t be clean water or breathable air or food on our planet by the time my kids want to have kids. And on and on. While a total overhaul of my personal identity isn't going to happen in a week, there are plenty of low lift ways to access a little calm and clarity.