When all is not merry and bright

When all is not merry and bright

Hey superheroes,

I know i havent posted in a while, but I really wanted to post during the holidays. If TV is any indicator, we should all be happy and loving during this time of year. Most of us, however, feel stressed and frustrated during this time. It is the time of year we feel the need to be around family. For some, that means being around people who they want a good relationship with, but for whatever reason, they do not have. For me, its because some of my family has a tendency to be negative and gossip, leaving me frustrated and hurt by most interactions with them. They serve as my triggers, and leave me scared of  the holidays every year. For some of my friends, the fact that they do not have family (for whatever reason) is really  evident this time of year.

The holidays can be great for some, but for me, and many people I know, they are more of a nightmare. So how do we move past this? I am going to share with you a couple ideas that I have had that have worked for me ( they may not work for everyone).  I am sharing these things in the interest of conversation! So please let me know what works for you!

1) Find something you enjoy doing during the holidays: Make plans to go see an out of town friend, or have a friend oriented Xmas party. Try and keep up with the activities you enjoy year round. If you have a favourite, chocolate, meal or whatever make it a goal to put some funds aside to attain that.

2) Say No: this is the time of year that guilt trips come out in full stride. We feel the need to go to parties and see people who, lets be honest, we really don’t want to see. Your mental health is especially important during this time of year where you will be exposing yourself to extra stress. You will be worrying about getting gifts, money issues and many other preparations and problems.  If going to an event or seeing someone is going to cause you more stress than happiness… say no. I know thinking this and doing this has caused me a lot of grief and guilt, but in the end, it helps me maintain good mental health. We all want people to do and act a certain way, but in the end…. they wont. So why put ourselves in a situation that is going to make up upset or angry?

3) Support: Do seek the support of those who you love to be around and laugh with. Spend time with friends, or even volunteer your time. Charities are always looking for extra hand this time of year, especially after all the donations they tend to receive at christmas.

4) Turn off the TV: The media is flushed with images of the perfect family, friends and life this time of year. ( Actually, almost all the time, but pronounced this time of year) We really don’t need to be watching the same movies holidays specials. It can leave us wondering… why can’t I have that? So try and find entertainment in other movies or shows, or even go play in the newly fallen snow ( instead of instagraming it :P)

5) Do something on new years: Whether thats going out with friends, going to a friends house or even taking part in the numerous free events around Canada and the World on new years… try and do something you would not normally do this time of year.

6) New Year Resolutions: If you partake in this tradition, try and write out a REASONABLE plan about how you are going to attain this goal. Trying to achieve vague goals is hard if you dont have a plan to achieve them. Try and set smaller goals to achieve your goals. Also, try and right healthy goals that will benefit you as a person. Try: I want to get healthier, instead of just losing weight.

7) Your life is awesome: We not have an amazing family, friends or adventure. During this time of year, i really notice a lot of whats wrong with myself and relationships. Try and look at all the awesome things thats good for you right now. Even if its just a pet. Know that any sadness you are feeling right now is real. And it does deserve help, dont compare yourself to others to say look how bad they have it, to try and snap yourself out of feeling sad ( it never worked for me, only makes me feel worse). Your life will be awesome, as you deserve an awesome life and the world wants to see the amazing things i know you have to offer it. So, use the holiday season as a time to research treatment options that you think you want in your life. Try and focus on the thoughts and emotions you are feelings and how to change those. If you have a person causing a lot of your feelings, maybe even make a plan to remove yourself from them during this year. Nothing is a better gift to yourself than the gift of happiness and attempting to live the life you want.

8) And this goes for all year: Don’t listen to crap: Gossip is big this time of year, engaging in it is tempting but try and walk away from it. It can cause you more stress in your life than its worth. We are also in control of our interactions with people. Walk away from fights if  someone is picking one with you. Make jokes in response to them saying hurtful things to you. Know that sometimes, people arent saying things to be assholes, but  because they suck at  showing concern about you. Try and react in a way that is going to be less stressful for you.

8.1) ( An aside) Also, this is the time of year where we are looking for self improvement techniques. Please… for the love of everything, dont go reposting/following articles from cracked or some other popular media site just because they sound good. Try and see ( through sound scientific evidence) if this has worked in an experiment. Many of these techniques  ( even the ones posted here) are just people sharing their experience. Not science. Following someone elses experience may work for you, but the chances of it failing in a big way is high.  A lot of these self improvement sites ask you to forgo your self esteem to improve yourself. This is not needed or even recommended, especially since so much of us suffer with low self esteem already.  We need to love ourselves and improve… but many of the sites forwarded to me lately seem very cult like. Breaking down who you are to create this “better person”. You are great, the things you love about yourself are real, and there are ways to respect this and create a better you.

In closing, I wish you all an amazing and happy holiday season. I hope you find happiness where ever you want it.