So, it’s a time for reflection… continuing with this theme and the blog post immediately prior to this one, I invite you to now reflect on Christmas and holiday strategy. Yup, I said it. Strategy. If you’ve already read my part 1 blog on this topic, you know why strategy is something I must live and abide by.
Strategy is essential for us empaths, intuitives, introverts, and highly sensitive people especially throughout the holidays (and well into the new year). We need strategyto find our happy middle. So, I invite you to take a moment and sit with all that made you uncomfortable, anxious, scattered, irritated and/or overly emotional this holiday season. I promise if you do, there’s a lesson and a lightbulb to uncover. Something that could change your life even.
So by now you probably know my journey with Christmas has been up, down, and all-around. My own wounds and trauma with Christmas brought forth every (very poor) coping mechanism known to man. And all those coping mechanisms failed miserably because they were just covering up my true feelings. Acknowledging the true feelings instead of running from them, showed me my happy middle. And then it’s all about using strategy to stay within that happy middle.
Here’s some of the pendulum swings of extremes of those poor coping examples I myself have done related to Christmas: From exorbitantly over-spending and generally going WAY overboard at Christmas to doing absolutely nothing. From travelling in and out of the province and country (and yes, all within the same Christmas!) to see ALL “immediate” family to staying home and seeing no one. Cleaning and bedazzling and decking out ever corner of the house in Christmasy things to donating every single Christmas décor item. From declaring I love Christmas to declaring I f*cking hate Christmas.
Delving in to my true feelings around the holidays – the anger, rage, disappointment, sadness, grief, and all that I alluded to in my part 1 blog post led me to discover my happy middle. That along with strategy has allowed me live, for the most part, within that happy middle. So for me, relating to the holidays and the extreme pendulum swings I shared in the above paragraph, my happy middle looks like:
Gifts: I no longer buy gifts for every single relative just because they are a relative. Gifting once a year just because it’s Christmas was driven by unhealthy energetic patterns and not anchored in truth or reality. It doesn’t make any sense to gift people I literally have no relationship with. Truthfully, I believe not only did I free myself from these obligations, but others who felt the exact the same way too. It’s freeing to know there is no set plan nor recurring expectation, and we can communicate and revisit what, if any, gift exchange we’re doing this year.
Travel: I no longer push myself to travel to see everyone and their dog just because it is Christmas. Pushing myself to travel in and out province and country all within one short holiday was absolute insanity. Another hint – one of my favorite Christmas strategies is to take a vacation, go away on a get-a-way over the holidays, and basically skip Christmas! Then you’re getting some true R+R time for yourself, you’re connecting with the people who mean most to you, making new memories, and all the expectations of gifts, travel and whatever else are taken care of because you’re gone!
Food: We no longer cook for a damn army. Food, like everything else, was just way over-done at Christmas to the point of ridiculousness. We have a tradition of cooking gluten-free meat pies on Christmas Eve Eve to then enjoy Christmas Eve. And we have turkey Christmas day. Beyond that, there’s not much hubbub about food. Too many desserts and all that sugar leave us feeling like sh*t so we prefer to eat light and relatively clean so we can enjoy our next tradition, which is shopping on boxing day.
Décor: I do not decorate for Christmas anymore. I own one small wooden crafty tree, 2 small metal snowmen, and one stocking for my doggie (Lulu), and that’s it! No lights, no actual tree, no nothin’ else. For me this is an area I so over-did that I no longer have the desire to push myself to decorate for my far-less than favorite holiday (well let’s be honest – I closet do-not-love Christmas at all) because society says I should. It felt great to take tubs and boxes of décor and donate it to the Salvation Army for someone else to use and enjoy. Done and done. I’d rather do some “spring cleaning”, as in purge and clean out some closets, cupboards, and storage areas and donate it all, then decorate for Christmas. In fact, I just decided that’s going to be my new tradition. Spring cleaning at Christmas! Woot woot!
People/ parties/ gatherings: I no longer engage with people just because I’m obligated to. I very carefully select who I invite into my space and my life now, and I’m even more careful about this around the holidays. And I’m 100% unapologetic for it. There are many reasons behind this that could be a post all on it’s own, but I’ll just say sensing things others don’t leads me to have tough-as-nails boundaries. I’ve also healed and cleared a lot energetically, so I’m also less driven by unhealthy energetic patterns. This means I’m able to engage in proper self-care.
I invite you to take a moment and identify your pendulum swings of extremes. All that made you uncomfortable, anxious, scattered, irritated and/or overly emotional this holiday season is telling you that you are/ were indeed in a pendulum extreme. Those emotions can help you identify and strategize to find and stay in your happy middle. For me a lot of the over-emotions I was feeling around Christmas came down to implementing boundaries. Who I’m willing to spend time with, spend money on, travel to see, stay overnight in their house with, cook for etc. And it led me to know things I need, don’t agree with, and won’t do anymore. It helped me take a stand for what I’m going to do around the holidays, for me. It’s just acts of self-care and letting go of all the unhealthy energetic patterns that led to people-pleasing, saying yes when you want to say no, sacrificing my needs to serve someone else’s ego or agenda, and all that didn’t/ doesn’t align with me…
Living in extremes in a BIG sign you’re living in survival mode (fight/ flight, sympathetic systems) and this means aspects of you will be unhappy and unwell. Did you know that? Stay tuned for a future blog post on survival. And, did you know if you struggle to implement a boundary or engage in other forms of self-care, it’s likely because you’re trapped in an unhealthy energetic pattern? So, instead of chastising yourself or berating yourself for not being able to do this or that, give yourself some extra TLC and understand it’s a pattern. And that can be changed.
In the very next blog posts I’m going to talk about one such tool. It happens to be one of my absolute favorite (and necessity-type) tools of all time. It’s called the Flip It. And it always makes me think of pancakes, but I promise you, this tool is ginormously better than even the very-best pancakes!
With Light and Love,