Surviving the Holidays After a Betrayal
The end of the year holiday season is supposed to be a festive, family-focused, peaceful time full of love, laughter and togetherness. But in reality, for many people, December instead morphs into an incredibly busy, expensive, and stressful period packed with presents, parties, and performances one after another. Rather than the most wonderful time of year, the constant hustle makes it feel more like the most wiped out time of year. So how can you avoid getting swept up by all the hype and chaos and focus on actually surviving the holidays especially after a betrayal? How can you make sure to protect and prioritize doing the things that matter most to you so that you can actually enjoy yourself along with your loved ones? Sometimes doing less, is doing more. It is possible to create special memories without going broke and burning yourself out in the process. Here are some very practical tips for keeping the holidays simple, meaningful, affordable and even relaxing if you strategically streamline now:
Take a Look Inside Yourself First
Before getting caught up in all the holiday hustle and bustle, pause and check in with yourself first. What do you really care about when it comes to the holidays? Make a list of your personal priorities and values. Do you care more about buying a lot of gifts or spending meaningful time with loved ones? Is having an elaborately decorated home important or would you rather keep things simple? What holiday traditions truly matter to you? Once you identify what is internally important, you’ll have an easier time letting go of unnecessary external pressures about what you “should” be doing. Your priorities are exactly that – yours.
Evaluate Your Traditions
Many families have holiday traditions they do year after year without even thinking about it. But just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean you always have to. Doing less is not something to be ashamed about. Talk to your family members, especially kids, about which traditions really matter to them. You might be surprised by which ones they’d be fine skipping. Doing this can help pare down the long checklist of holiday tasks. Plus, you might discover something new to incorporate that better fits your current situation and needs. Sometimes it’s hard to give up traditions that are no longer serving you simply because they are traditions that you’ve done every year. However, each new year brings growth and change, and that can extend to traditions as well. Also remember: just because you skip a tradition this year doesn’t mean you have to forego it forever. In future years you may find you want to rekindle traditions that you set aside for a time.
Give Yourself Grace
The most wonderful time of year often comes with very high expectations. But beating yourself up for not meeting impossible standards will only lead to disappointment. Instead, give yourself grace. It’s okay if your usual over-the-top light display doesn’t happen or you order pizza on Christmas Eve because you don’t have the time or energy to cook a big fancy meal. Do what you reasonably can, then let go of what you can’t without judgment. Make doing less your mantra this holiday season. Recognize that while the holidays may look joyful on the outside for other people, many struggle in unseen ways. You don’t have to pretend you have everything together. Do what feels most meaningful and nurturing for you right now. You won’t feel better by beating yourself up about all the things you’re not doing. Focus on the important things you ARE doing, and know that you are doing enough when you’re doing your best, even if your best right now isn’t as much as it has been at other times.
Find Balance in Your Schedule
When you’re overwhelmed during the holidays it’s easy to cope by becoming a crazy, busy, do-everything person or shutting down and not doing anything at all. But neither extreme is healthy or sustainable. Strive to find balance in your schedule between resting and being productive. Make sure to build in daily downtime to recharge as well as blocks focused on important tasks like work, caring for your home and family, etc. It’s okay to let some things slide, but also don’t just hide from your responsibilities. Finding this equilibrium takes practice but leads to greater peace and capacity to handle challenges when they inevitably come up.
Ask For and Accept Help
Trying to take everything onto your own shoulders will only weigh you down. This time of gift giving is the perfect opportunity to also give yourself the gift of asking others for help when you need it. Let family members know specific ways they could lend a hand, whether it’s watching the kids for a few hours, picking up groceries, or pulling holiday decorations from the attic. Friends might be happy to contribute by dropping off a home cooked meal or baked treat. Be willing to speak up, share what would be useful, and truly receive the blessings that come your way.
You CAN Be Successful at Surviving the Holidays This Year!
Unfortunately, the holidays can very easily turn into more of a giant headache than a truly comforting, joy-filled time. In the midst of all the parties, presents and plans, people often lose sight of what really makes this season special in the first place – meaningful connection. It’s easy to get so caught up in creating magical Instagram-worthy memories that you fail to actually be present with those you love most. Rather than chasing holiday perfection, do a thorough check-in with your real priorities right now. What traditions, tasks or gifts genuinely bring you and your loved ones joy versus stress? What is most nurturing for you personally after the difficulties you’ve faced this past year? Give yourself plenty of grace to adapt traditions and say no to unnecessary obligations. Find a sustainable balance between resting and doing less, and being productive without wrecking yourself striving to do everything. Allow others to lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed. Choose simplicity over commercial chaos. By purposefully checking in with your heart, giving yourself self-compassion, finding balance, and allowing others to share the load, you’ll gain clarity and capacity. You’ll be empowered to simplify in ways that let you fully cherish those you care about most. Reduce stressful distractions by doing less this December to rediscover and thoughtfully nourish what really makes your holiday season feel comforting, connective and bright. Even if you’re healing from a betrayal or other disappointment this year, you can make it through the season and find joy as you celebrate in ways that serve you.
Need help navigating the challenging holiday season? We are here to walk with you every step of the way. Reach out to our team of coaches and counselors at Choose Recovery Services today.