Be Yourself During the Holidays

I don’t know about you but I have had a love/hate relationship with the holidays. On the one hand I have a lot of happy memories and very much enjoy the family gatherings, but on the other hand the holidays can be a (sometimes)painful reminder of all that has changed. I’m single, my kids are grown, my youngest grandkids don’t live in the same state, my father is gone, my mother sold their home and moved into retirement living. The holidays don’t look much like they once did. Life moves on. You’ve had your changes too.

Will You Be With Someone Who Caused Your Upheaval?

The holidays can be even more hectic if we are slated to spend time with those who were the catalyst to our upheaval like an Ex, a crazy relative, boss or co-workers and the like. Holidays are packed with traditions, which provide us with stability and order, but upheavals can yank those traditions right out from under us. Even something as simple as not being able to attend the same office party you have for years because you’ve changed jobs is a reminder that things have changed.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for the holidays during and after an Upheaval:

1. If you sense an ending approaching:

  • Do: know that the internal shaking you feel is normal for this stage
  • Don’t: overtax yourself with entertaining and parties
  • Do: remain curious about what the changes will bring
  • Don’t: be troubled if you don’t feel the same happiness or excitement as usual
  • Do: realize your insides are beginning to rearrange
  • Don’t: beat yourself up if things are different, or you are different

2. If you’re in the in-between stage.

  • Do: be gentle with yourself, if you’re emotionally vulnerable stay away from the people and situations that could trigger you
  • Don’t: feel the need to apologize to anyone for how you feel or how you choose to take care of yourself
  • Do: cocoon if you need to. This stage doesn’t last forever; it may be a great place for you right now. If you’re more extroverted, do be careful not to talk so much about your upheaval that you put people off, especially if you’ve had a few drinks. Perhaps enlist a friend who can help you edit
  • Don’t: allow others to devalue you. Let people know what they can and cannot do around you (boundaries). Have an exit plan in case difficult people won’t honor your wishes

3. If you’re in the new creation stage:

  • Do: consider using your holiday parties and/or family gatherings as a coming out party for the new you. Dress to the nines and shine!
  • Don’t: worry about people not understanding or accepting this new side of you. Sometimes others are threatened by changes in the people they care about, just don’t cooperate if they try to stuff you back in the box you just got out of
  • Do: feel free try out new behaviors and personas. This is a time for you also, to get to know this new side of you. Try on a new level of confidence. Shake hands. Smile. If you’re more extroverted try relaxing into this new you and listen in a way that others feel deeply heard by you. Try being more interested in the person you’re talking to than telling your own stories. Be ok with silence.
  • Don’t: be upset if you don’t do “it” right. There’s no right way to do this. Just have fun, reassess, try again.

If you’d like to prepare for the holidays in a deeper way by understanding any of these three stages, and what is required of you while in each so you can make the best of them, get on my calendar. Let’s talk. 30 minutes free on me. It’s soooo helpful to have the support of someone who has been there and done that when facing the big challenges of holiday time.