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Why does December feel like this?

Just a reminder: If you want to ask a question, make sure to submit it on my Instagram stories during our Tuesday Q & A.

I spent most of adulthood assuming I was the only person (even though the Grinch has made a career out of it) not feeling so merry this time of year. After years of struggling through December (and a lot of introspection), I want to share with you the things I think are most impactful and a follow-up on how to manage them:

1) We live in a busy climate. If there is anything in your life that you aren’t sure how to heal, or navigate, life allows many options to put that aside by being…busy. We do this with our work, our free time, and any area that demands more from us that our survival depends on. Then, December. We go, go, go and say “As soon as…” Then, December. The fast paced world that gives us a little distraction and a lot of survival comes to a screeching halt at the end of each year. It’s like its own pandemic for people who do not have lives that mirror “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.”

2)  And, if your life does not mirror that wonderful holiday cheer, it can be overwhelming to open your mailbox and see the picture perfect greeting cards, and open Netflix and see the romcom that reminds you how out of place you feel in the world. The message of what holidays are supposed to feel like are quite intense. There is no mention of how difficult December is for someone who is at a low point in their healing, alone, and feeling the added layers of pressure that their holidays feel isolating because it does not match what holiday entertainment tells us to feel. I don’t mean that in a negative sense, I mean that there is a real pressure (and quite abundant) that is dismissive of reality of a lot of people who need a space to be a little more honest about December.

3) December is the month that tells you, your new year’s resolution is right around the corner. It’s week after week of navigating so much confusion, inauthenticity, pressure, grief, loneliness, then BAM! “TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO BE A BETTER HUMAN NEXT YEAR?!?!”

Ugh.

So, what do we do?

I do not share these things as a cure for everything, but as a genuine offer to help anyone get through December with some moments of hope and peace. That is needed.

These are the things that have helped me most:

  • Stop participating in things you have to recover from.  I know that needs nuance, but if going to the holiday gathering feels like it will drudge up all the triggers you have, then leave you stranded–don’t go. If you feel that you have a role to play to keep everyone else happy, exit that role. Amplify the things that you tend to enjoy, the things and people that bring peace. There are so many concerts, events, places with beautiful lights, friends you can’t get enough of, favorite meals to be had in December. Imagine skipping out on one thing that always stresses you out, and instead doing something that brings you pleasure. Not only are you preserving your health, but you are doing something that your body does not feel tense about, and stressed about having to recover from later. This is big.
  • Allow yourself to speak openly and honestly about how you view the world right now. This has nothing to do with being a scrooge, and everything to do with being an honest adult with how you see the world and working from there. When you feel pressure to present cheer to others when you are struggling, and start lying to yourself, that alignment comes off track fast. We numb ourselves because we are attempting to appease so we get that sense of joy everyone else seems to have. Maybe just underneath one subtle truth, is more peace and joy than you have ever known and it is taking a brief moment to provide clarity for yourself about the ways you are tired and the things you want to see change.
  • After doing these first two, do the first one again with some things on your calendar that you have never done. Even if it is one thing. We have the candlelight concert series here in Philly, and when I go and sit among 1000 candles, my being is able to be ok with everything in that moment. Take joy in finding all the free events nearby. One…new…thing. You adding things like this makes a far greater difference than you realize, but especially for those who have felt overwhelmed because nothing seems to offer relief.

It’s the pressure y’all. It’s the state of the world. It’s the lack of invitation to speak openly and honestly about how hard this month feels. It’s the intensity that tells you that you have to commit to being the best version of yourself next year, when you have barely had time to process this year.

Take your time back. Less offering of yourself to things you have to recover from, and more things that gave you a glimpse inside of yourself where some part of you can exhale and say “Thanks for that, I’m better now.”

If you have not watched this webinar on surviving the holidays, feel free to do that here.  There is no cost.

My hope in this blog is to make someone feel less alone.

Sending you all the compassion and hope for breakthroughs and peace.

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