Between Hallmark movies and the constant stream of All I Need for Christmas is You, it’s easy to believe that everyone around us is having a jolly time in the month of December. But this is a socially reinforced construct. For those who regularly sit to either side of the emotional spectrum, these messages can make us feel shame or guilt for not wanting to fa la la la la our way through the day.  Our emotions do not simply change to happy during the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Expecting ourselves to feel joyful regardless of what else is going on in our lives is a sure-fire way to feel guilty, ashamed and “not enough” throughout the holiday season.

Instead, being open to all the feelings that accompany this time of year is a key to feeling balance and self acceptance. Remember, the one guarantee in life is that things will change. Our positive feelings will change… and so will our distressing feelings. It can feel scary when we think something is permanent when it is really temporary. We can get through temporary things- distressing feelings included.

Try this self-talk technique to help re-center during the holiday season:
“I am here. I am safe. I am.”

The holidays do not need to be stressful. When we re-center back to what is important to us, we stabilize. If a holiday dinner with family is the most important thing to you, put the majority of your energy into that and not towards the things that distract you. If traveling to be with loved ones makes the top of the list, focus your energies on this rather than on gifts or decorating. It is when our energy output aligns with our values and priorities that we feel whole.

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