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I talk a great deal these days about the “Refurbished self.” Part of that is staying true to the person you are or want to become during times when social expectations and lifestyle look very prescriptive.You know, how we “should” be, who we “need” to be and what others might think if we aren’t that person. These are themes many of us struggle with during the holidays.
Our reality is often in stark contrast to what the Hallmark Christmas movies portray. We are living amidst unpredictable, challenging times financially, socially and intrinsically. Who we choose to be during the holiday season can really define the type of lifestyle and relationships that carry us into the New year. It’s often a continuation of attitudes and hard hitting habits that don’t support our personal happiness and definition of self.
I’m talking about those pivotal moments during the month of December when we are asked to do one more thing or attend another holiday gathering or buy one more gift, or dream up some fantastic representation of Christmas for our children that will forever establish unattainable expectations for future holidays.
It continues relentlessly as our anxiety and irritability levels increase, our bank accounts dwindle, self-care becomes a distant memory, we may feel alone or isolated and our energy levels spiral into the abyss. January is often referred to as the “holiday hang over” for a reason. It’s a tough month!
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, but I’m being real here when I say sometimes you can’t even find the cup. We need to start saying “no,” without the guilt, without the fear of not being the best parent or adult child or friend or colleague. We need to prioritize our own time and needs.
I’m writing this blog for all of us, whatever our circumstances may be because there is something fundamentally misconstrued about the holiday experience we are “supposed” to have and the one we actually endure. I had to really ask myself why that is. The answer is more simple than it is complicated: It’s because we allow it to be that way.
You see, holiday marketing is a beautiful and tragic thing all bundled into one seasonal gift. We see images in the stores, on social media, in commercials and in conversations with friends that suggest the purpose behind the holiday experience is acquisition of “things,” followed by a complete reversal in January. Promises to lose weight, increase your wealth, be the best version of yourself and live your life like never before, are just around the corner. We get stuck in this ever evolving hamster wheel of wanting more at the expense of ourselves. Wash and repeat.
Maybe it’s less about a complete overhaul of the self in January and more about starting to recognize some patterns in our emotions and thoughts that lead us to the same reactions, escapism from our lives and relationships. It’s the patterns that lead us farther away from who we want to be and those patterns originate from some underlying feeling (i.e. I”m not good enough, I don’t have enough, people don’t like me, my family isn’t like other families etc) that we aren’t fully acknowledging. Quite often these feelings live below the surface of our consciousness.
Give yourself the gift of honouring what matters most for you, align with your personal values and decide how you want to fully embody that life and that version of you throughout the holidays and beyond.
You get to choose what and who you allow into your holiday scene.
To our creation of beautiful experiences in 2023!