Deck the Halls with all your Baggage – Or, how I’m surviving the holidays
Fa la la la la…
I love the holidays. My whole family loves the holidays. We have more traditions than we know what to do with and I adore every single one of them.
So you can imagine my surprise when December first hit and along with it came attendant anxiety. Bizarre? Yes.
But also, with a little introspection, entirely foreseeable (although I did not foresee it in any way).
Last Christmas sucked. It was our first Christmas without my daughter. If you have children in your life, you know how quickly they become the heart of every holiday. The thought of not having her tainted the entire month (even though we tried in vain to fake it for her sake).
Add to this initial suck the fact that I ended a long-term relationship right before Christmas (necessary but stressful), I flipped my truck on the highway, etc, etc. Suffice it to say, I barely escaped the holidays unscathed…oh, wait! Then I started January with a full nervous breakdown. I guess you could call that scathed.
I spent a good chunk of 2013 healing from my antics of last years’ holidays. Not that I blame Christmas. Many necessary changes all intersected there in a most unfortunate way – had I been paying attention, I probably could have avoided the calamities. Next time…
It’s not just last Christmas either, now that I think on it. My anxiety has to do with the fact that while still utterly unconscious of my own needs, I spent my twenties entangling myself with men who were, at best indifferent to my love of all things holiday – at worst, those beloved wounded, those victims-of-victims would sabotage my joy entirely and deliberately. God bless them. I learned so much.
This year my first Christmas with my husband. My daughter will be home where she belongs. All is well. In the spirit of a good ol’ fashioned Griswald family Christmas, we went out into the wilderness and cut down our Christmas tree. It smells amazing. It looks so magical. We’re watching our favourite holiday movies in the evenings. We’re planning so many fun events with both of our families.
The old, unconscious Erin would take this opportunity to freak right out (probably after stuffing her feelings down into a nice tumour-shaped ball in her solar plexus).
Thank Heaven for a new day!
This Erin is going to change things up a bit.
Wanna know my plan?
1. Yoga. Meditate. Repeat.
It’s hard, I know. There are friends and relatives and libations. But this gal is going to make a real effort to get some practice in – even if it’s sneaky and only for a few moments.
2. Time alone in silence.
Same thing. Even if it’s five minutes in my bedroom with ear plugs in. Without quiet time, I go all unconscious and start reacting to the past instead of the present. The past sucked a little. (See above.) The present is awesome. Gotta stay in it.
F*ck it. I’ll eat well in January. I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without cheese.
This is kind of a new one for me, even though (in hindsight) I’ve been a writer all my life. The kind of discipline it takes to sit down at my keyboard every day with some classical music and a cup of coffee is really beneficial. Even if what I write is total sh*t. It helps me sort out the goings on in this monkey mind of mine.
5. Get enough sleep.
Some people only need four hours of sleep to function. I am not one of those people. I function optimally on ten. I try to get seven or eight. It’s a must-have for me. Sounds simple, but it’s survival for me.
6. Have some fun.
This should be a given. But it’s not. Even doing fun things, sometimes I’m so elsewhere that I forget to engage in the funness. Not this year. Fun is fun and I’m having it.
I’m really curious what your holiday survival tips are. I’ll talk more as the month goes on about how to sparkle up your holidays but for now, lets just make sure we’re all taking care of ourselves and one another during these crazy days, non?
Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?