Heidi, over at Good Life, had a recent post on how hard the holidays can be for people. Certainly for me, the dark side of my emotions are not exempt from the holiday blues.
There’s the feeling that I’m not normal enough. I love Christmas decorations, but won’t make the effort to put up anything beyond minimal. That’s mostly because when it’s time to take them down, it’s guaranteed that I will be miserably tired and hate the job even more than usual.
I also don’t buy piles of presents, send out piles of Christmas cards, or got to multiple Christmas parties. I continue to live my quiet and secluded life during the holidays.
Then there’s the whole issue of expectations, of what is reasonable and what is not. Yesterday I’d mentioned that my daughter had decorated her tree just for me (her words, not mine). I think that is fantastic. It helps me feel festive, although I’m a bit sad that I don’t do things like that for her anymore.
A big past problem with emotions during the holidays was plain old family politics. Early in my marriage, the holidays were another battleground with the parents of how much time we spent at each house, did we come early enough and stay late enough, and who said what that offended someone. I couldn’t make my in-laws happy and my favorite boy toy had the same problem with my parents.
At this point in my life, my biggest problem with not enjoying the holidays is fatigue and stress. My job is usually high stress, but it ratchets up in December. By the end of the workday, I’m tired. I don’t get much done in the evenings during the week. And on the weekends, I like to go wandering. I don’t want to stay home to get done everything I didn’t do during the week. Add to that the holidays, with the time needed for shopping, decorating, traveling, and everything else, there’s just not time for relaxing and enjoying the holidays.
I’ve prioritized and streamlined my holiday preparations and expectations. I try to be careful about my diet and exercise and to get enough sleep. I’m still recovering from the cold that I caught over Thanksgiving, so that is zapping my energy even more.
I realize that there are many out there with significant problems over the holidays. My gripes are minor in comparison. I have loving family and friends, a daughter who is working hard to spoil me (as is her Dad), and today I finished preparing recommendations on an enormously difficult project involving a tax audit that is 15 years old. That will help me go on vacation feeling better about my workload.
I’ve been working on having gratitude this year. During lunch, I read a post by Jenna Woginrich over at Cold Antler Farm. She doesn’t write about what happened yesterday, only to say that amazing things happened and disaster was averted. She invited her readers to post something they were grateful for. She was over 130 comments at lunch today and you know, after reading them, I was in a much better mood. It was very touching (and emotional) what her readers were grateful for. You can read it for yourself here.
I think I’ve made my expectations about as realistic as I can for my current stage in life. Some days I have to suck it up more than others, but overall, I think staying about as even keel as I can. I’m so happy for my daughter working so hard to make it a nice Christmas once again for me.
And to leave this on a lighter note, you know what she’s giving us for a Christmas present this year? She’s fixing up the upstairs as a nice guest room for us. It’s only recently that she put a bed up there and over Thanksgiving we discussed some improvements to make it better. And she has! I can hardly wait to try it out.
How do you like these pictures of my favorite boy toy putting up the tree and decorating it with a 2 1/2 year old?
Word for tomorrow – INSPIRED. If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com or write me at dogear6 [at] gmail [dot] com.