Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of trauma.
Ah, the holiday season. A time that can be met with mixed feelings for a lot of people. Some people absolutely love it, some people dread it, and some people are somewhere in between - all are totally valid.
Personally, I struggle with this time of year due to past traumas which can cause a lot of anxiety. It’s been something I’ve been working on, and sometimes, it’s still difficult. Christmas and New Year’s can be immensely stressful, both the lead-up to it and the day itself. However, it doesn’t have to be!
One of the biggest things I’ve come to realise is that both days are only days. While they may hold gatherings or events that you may not usually attend throughout the year, they are just days, like today, like yesterday. And once those 24 hours are over, it’s over for another year and - look at that! - you made it through another 24 hours and another whole year! That’s something to be proud of.
But what can we do to make this time a bit easier? Plan things to look forward to. I’ve got things planned in December and January that I’m looking forward to, and having something like this can give you a bit of joy and excitement. Be open with those around you about how you’re feeling. It’s a difficult time, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a helpline, or someone else you feel comfortable opening up to.
Something that I’ve also found to be helpful during this time is actively making good memories. These don’t have to be big events, but something from this time of year that you can look back on and remember the good. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, just something that can counteract the negative feelings you may have.
Now, let’s talk about New Year’s. New Year’s can often feel like there’s a lot of pressure attached to it. Pressure to know exactly what you’re doing, to know what the year ahead is going to look like, etc. But the thing is, for some of us, we might not know what tomorrow will look like, or even this evening. How can we know what a full year is going to hold? You don’t need to. You don’t need to have your year planned. You are exactly where you need to be right now.
The New Year can sometimes bring feelings of feeling behind or feeling ‘less than.’ But nothing has changed between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s. Nothing has suddenly changed just because it’s been 24 hours. You’re doing a great job. You’re not behind, you’re absolutely not less than; you’re on your own path and journey, no one else’s.
My New Year’s resolutions are to keep doing what I’m doing. To keep listening to music, to keep reading, to keep enjoying food, to keep spending time with loved ones, to keep writing, and to keep dreaming and hoping. When you do the things that bring you joy and surround yourself with those who bring you peace, regardless of the time of year, I’d say that’s time well spent.
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