The Holiday Season can be the most magical time of the year, celebrating life and love with family and friends. But for some of us, it can be quite the opposite.
Arguments at the dinner table, strained relationships, and reminders that some friends and family are no longer with us, can turn holiday joy into despair. Then, we might see this as a time to survive or get through quickly, unable to feel the deeper meaning of each holiday.
I have a lot of experience in this department, but even when my heart is hurting from a big dose of family dysfunction and I feel anxious about whether certain relationships can ever be repaired, I know that my heart still has a great capacity to experience peace and joy.
How can you make the same space in your heart?
Certainly if you’re deeply depressed or in a rage, speaking with a therapist may be your best option. This post is not meant to replace professional advice if you’re feeling mentally or emotionally unstable either.
But if you simply have the holiday blues and are needing a little something to help you shift your perspective and give your heart some hope, then please read on.
There’s not one answer that will help everyone. These are the things that keep my heart open and my attitude bright during the holidays. Hopefully you will find something here that helps you as well…
Establish Safe Boundaries At Gatherings
First, it’s my personal opinion that you should not feel pressured to attend a holiday gathering if your heart is not in it. There may be some of you who disagree, but I don’t see the point if you’re only there for show and are emotionally distant.
What if your family has a history of drama? Verbal abuse? Degrading behavior? Maybe you should determine ahead of time what you’re willing to endure and if it’s worth it. Is this time together building your relationships and helping you feel more connected to life?
If the answer is no, then perhaps you can reflect on what is a better way to celebrate. Especially if your heart is feeling tender, it may be best to be with people you feel safe around and who fully support you.
Self-reflect Through Journaling
Journaling is my favorite self-help tool! When I write down my feelings and thoughts, it immediately lightens the weight on my heart and mind.
I try not to use it to complain about others though. Instead, if I’m writing to help heal a relationship I try to write about my experience without blame. This helps me to see the situation from the other person’s perspective and to see how I may have contributed to the unease.
Using journaling to shift your perspective may be all you need to create more space for joy!
Lift Your Mood With Essential Oils
Aromatic use of essential oils, perceived through olfaction (smelling), immediately effects the limbic system of the brain where we experience emotions and can create new memories about past experiences.
I know many people choose to drink a lot of alcohol at events, you know, “liquid courage” and to provide some distance from uneasy feelings that may come up. Oils help you to experience these uneasy feelings but then create an experience that helps you surpass them. So, using oils to lift your mood is a much healthier approach than intoxication!
You can also try diffusing the blend below. Ylang ylang is especially nourishing and resonates well with the heart.
Metta, or “lovingkindness” meditation is a very effective way to heal your own heart and your relationships. I wrote about it at length in How To Keep Your Heart Open and Bright With Lovingkindness Meditation.
If you can carve out 20 minutes in your day, try the guided practice below and follow up with a brief journal entry about how it went.
Seek Out Energy Healers
Qigong & Reiki practitioners, Acupuncturists, Shamans, and Hypnotists can help you clear energetic & emotional blocks and allow your heart heal on a very deep and profound level.
If you need any help finding a practitioner in the U.S., please let me know. I would be happy to connect you.
Spend Time With Your Spiritual Family
By doing all the self-reflection work above, it’s probably clear by now who the people are who fill your heart with joy. Maybe it’s a group of work friends, a church group, a support group for moms, a grief support group.
For me, I love to reach out to my yoga family of fellow teachers because they understand me in a way that even my closest family members do not (and that’s okay!).
Let this group of friends be your spiritual family. You can lift each other up and show others how deep connections at this special time of year are what really matters.
Do you have anything to add that will help our hearts heal this holiday season? Please spread the love and let us know!