December can be a month that feels like we are on a never ending emotional roller coaster ride. For some people, roller coaster rides can be exciting and motivating while for others the ride is worrisome and overwhelming. Here are a few ideas to help you through the positive and negative emotions when the tidal wave of feelings hit.
#1: Maintaining the Basics
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, how many times do we push the basics aside? How are you doing in the areas of sleep, rest, appetite, movement and relaxation? If our “tank” is empty and no fuel goes in, we will run out of gas at some point. Self check your limits and adjust accordingly. If we are dragging and cannot see straight anymore, asking ourselves what do I need in this moment can help redirect our actions. If our conclusion is – in this moment I need rest, then give self permission to rest. Taking care of ourselves will help us take care of others over time.
#2: Minimize Pressure we Place on Ourselves & Others
If too much pressure is placed on a structure beyond its threshold, the structure breaks. This principle applies for humans as well. Pressure can result from our expectations, fear of disappointing others, unable to say no when we feel obligated to say yes, and even needing things to be perfect. December can be a month we believe we need to cram everything in. How enjoyable is it when we have to be in a 1000 places at once or even prepare the 25 course meal? Choose to take on what is manageable and listen to your intuition. It is okay to scale back and delegate help. Set boundaries with yourself and others. In the end, we may experience more joy & contentment.
#3: Be Present
If you have to choose between quantity and quality of time, which one would you choose? When we are in the moment and not consumed by old thoughts or feelings or future worries, we are able to be present. Being present allows us to enjoy today. We may experience more contentment, joy and happiness. Let this month be the month to have fun, connect and experience enjoyment, you deserve it!
#4: Acknowledge Your Feelings
December can be an emotional month with grief reminders. Out of nowhere, a thought, feeling, memory or image may hit us. We may feel flooded with sadness, anger, loneliness, and/or worried to name a few emotions. Our feelings are a messaging system to let us know where we are at. Pushing our feelings away will only come back with twice as much force and can knock us off balance. It is okay to feel and acknowledge that we are feeling sad, angry, lonely or whatever other feelings surface. Be kind to yourself, connect and set boundaries when needed. This may be an annual experience and one we can prepare for. We can ask ourselves, when we feel sad, what action can we take to feel a bit more happy? Or when we feel lonely, what action can we take to feel a bit more connected.
#5: Reminding Ourselves of our Strengths
During this holiday season, how many times have we felt inadequate or like we are swimming in a sea of failure? Just because we think and feel we are doesn’t mean we are. These times may be an opportunity to reflect on our strengths. When we are consumed by emotions, we may forget our wonderful qualities while the inner critic takes over. Reminding ourselves to account the positives strengthens our inner advocate, self esteem and confidence.
Take care during this stressful time! Wishing you calm, peace and contentment in 2023!
Tiffaney Haydukewich, MSW, RSW
Clinical Counsellor / Registered Social Worker