This is the time of year where holidays can be painful. I know, everyone is supposed to be happy, joyful, and enjoying the wonders of the holidays. For some though, it is not the “Norman Rockwell Holiday Painting” image that many think it is.
If you love the holidays, my hat is off to you and I hope you celebrate it to the fullest extent. However, just because it is that way to you, please don’t think for one minute that everyone feels the same. In fact, there are a lot of people out there that struggle with this time of year.
For those that have endured the holidays and had horrific things happen, it isn’t a time of peace and joy. Holidays can be painful when there is the mere mention of getting together with family. Companies and Christmas parties can be difficult at best for some.
There is so much alcohol consumed during the holidays and while some may suggest it is to celebrate, often it is used to numb the reminders.
In My Own Life
In my own life, I’ve made great progress with Christmas. There was one time that I hid within my walls and if I had to venture out around people, I would become antagonistic. Most didn’t realize how much holidays can be painful and would be oblivious to what I was experiencing.
I would have people invite me over for Christmas and while I was appreciative, it was always a painful reminder of my own experiences. It was an exhausting day trying to fit in with a family and their traditions. Many times I would travel to a favorite place in the mountains and enjoy nature. I really wanted nothing to do with people on that day.
While things have improved for me, I still struggle. My desire to decorate or bake cookies or hear holiday music is there, I end up exhausted quickly. It is a deep physical exhaustion that comes from having to be brave and strong even though the anxiety is raging within me. Most people don’t see this. They don’t realize just how much holidays can be painful for me.
One Thing I Do
One thing I’ve learned to do is make plans for Christmas. Usually, we travel somewhere quiet and peaceful, away from the hustle and bustle of the day. It helps me to have something good to look towards and get my mind off of the pain. It gives me something positive to fill in the deep holes of pain I experience.
Another thing I do because holidays can be painful is I really take it easy during the month of December. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I cut down my schedule and calendar. I’ll find projects that I can get lost in that require no interaction with the outside world. They become my escape.
When Christmas Day is over, I can literally feel my physical and emotional mood lighten. If there is any doubt as to how much holidays can be painful, this is the proof for me.
Holidays Can Be Painful
During the holidays, don’t just automatically think that everyone feels the same way you do. Realize that for many, it is painful and have compassion. Offer these people a place to go on Christmas if you can, but also recognize that they may just want to avoid people at all costs.
Holidays can be painful, but I’ve also learned ways to make them less horrible. With our world so materialistic these days forcing commercial Christmas to start in August, it just extends the pain further for many.
Here’s what I posted on Twitter.
Please show some compassion for people who struggle with the upcoming holidays. Not all is a happy, pretty, wonderful time of year to everyone. For some, it is a painful reminder of horror filled days.
— Don Shetterly (@mindbodythought) November 10, 2018