• Kim Smith, M.Ed, LPC

I Hate the Holidays, because I Loved the Holidays

I have been slacking! I had all these great productive plans for my personal life, career life, and this blog, and then it completely fell flat. The holiday season snuck up on me and then hit me like a ton of bricks. “Sharquisha nooo, I wasn’t ready!!!”

This will be my first holiday season without my aunt or my dad and it hasn’t been easy. For the past few years I’ve spent Thanksgiving away from my parents but would spend it with my dad’s family and facetime him in so he could see all the brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews he doesn’t get to see as often. Couldn’t do that this year. Christmas has been the holiday where both my mom and my dad’s side came together, and my aunt was the main person to bring everyone together. She can’t do that this year. Suddenly all the things I loved about the holidays I find myself beginning to hate because every tradition is a painful reminder of those gone.

So many transitions and so many feelings. All I want to do is seclude myself and hide in my bed binge watching tv and distracting myself with a bottle of wine. Not the healthiest self-care strategy by any means. So, what to do instead? Depending on your personality style some level of isolation may be needed. It is a means to recharge, regroup and make a plan to pull yourself out. For those more extroverted in nature (Exhibit A, myself) too much isolation results in too much of alone time just you and your thoughts.

We get it Kim! So again, what to do instead? Well we all have interest, so first step is identifying yours. For me that includes coloring, Zumba, and the occasional Pokémon Adventure. Yes, Pokémon, I’m a low-key dork #sorrynotsorry. Lately I find myself coloring nonstop every free time I get. It may seem obsessive, but when I’m coloring I’m able to create something beautiful and get out of that anxious spiral in my head. Another useful tool is finding a way to honor the past; Whether that is a past version of yourself or the memory of a lost loved one. Days leading up to thanksgiving I made both a chess pie and sweet potato pie. My dad would make it from scratch every year and doing so was my way of reconnecting with him. Plus, kind of hard to hate the holidays when have delicious pies in front of you.

Now it’s your turn. Reflect on any and all interest you have, or simply small things you’ve done in the past that bring you joy, and well you know DO IT! Apply it on a daily basis. Don’t stop there! Also reflect on ways can honor the past. Think of a happier version of yourself and what things you may have done in that happier state. Find a way to recreate that experience in your current life. If dealing with loss find that ritual or tradition to replicate to honor the memory of that loved one. Don’t get caught in the same Holiday funk I’m in, but actively work to uplift your spirits and build yourself back up.

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