Well, we are officially in the headlights of the onrushing holiday season. My family members were comparing Black Friday apps on their phones during game night. The grocery store is a madhouse. The holiday decorations were out before Halloween. My clients are beginning to deal with schedule disruptions and family expectations.
I’ll be honest with you–as long as I can dodge the retail side of the season (and I’ve gotten expert at shopping with blinders on), I actually kind of love this time of year. I enjoy cooking, especially in groups. I like watching small kids get excited. I am in the fortunate group that has good memories of past holiday seasons. This time of year reminds me of my grandmothers, bizarre family traditions, playing in the snow, and music. Yes, I even like holiday music–as long as I can curate my own instead of being at the mercy of radio stations.
But that has not meant that every holiday season was one that I loved. It doesn’t even mean that I love every moment of a good holiday season. This time of year can be stereotypically stressful–it’s loaded with expectations, as I explored last year.
If you are grieving, or coping with a new diagnosis, the holidays can be a reminder of how much your life is different now than it was before your loss.
So, as we start the week of Thanksgiving (or Thanksgivukkah, as some of my Jewish friends have called it), I’m inviting you to take a deep breath. I’ve written lots and lots about the holidays in the past, so here are a few options that might be helpful.
I hope that you find something to make your holidays more centered on building memories and less centered on external demands. I hope that you find the right words to help you think about how to care for your own pain and sadness during a time when you’re being bombarded with messages about how happy everyone else is. I hope that you find a reminder that you aren’t alone.
And if that isn’t enough, I hope that you remember that there is lots of help out there. Please feel free to give me a call, or reach out to a pastor, friend, or other support.