Holiday expectations and Social norms of Happiness - Movies/ Media/ TV shows, illustrate holidays as a time of ‘time togetherness’ with everyone spending time together. Seeing everyone happy and together might make us feel pressured to feel the same. However, we wanted to let you know that it’s okay if this isn’t the jolliest time of the year for you. The holiday season comes with happiness but for some of us, it also comes with a sense of nostalgia, cancelled plans, and feelings of sadness, grief, anger, and disgust. There is space for more than one emotion to exist.
Feeling lonely, but not being alone- Often we feel alone even when we are surrounded by people. It is that alone in a crowd feeling that no one understands you or relates to your experience. We hear you and it is important for you to know you are not alone in this.
Being curious about your loneliness might help you gain some insight into what you really need along with reminding yourself that you are not alone.
Unpleasant Fam/Friends- Holidays can be a very challenging time of the year especially if one has to come home to an unsupportive and toxic environment. It’s a tough time and only natural that one may feel a series of emotions. Acknowledging the emotions that you are feeling and staying with them could assist you to build a better connection with yourself. There is plenty of room for us to feel our emotions and for them to coexist. Don’t forget to be compassionate towards yourself and treat yourself with care and support.
Stuck at work- Being stuck between wrapping up work and wanting to celebrate the holiday season, it can get very stressful. And it’s even harder when we are away from friends and family due to work. It may cause a certain sense of sadness and nostalgia. Sometimes things aren’t in our control and it can be really frustrating. It is only human of you to feel the way you are feeling. Acknowledging your emotions, practising radical acceptance, and establishing your own festive tradition (conventional/unconventional), might make you feel less stuck.
Obligatory attendance- There are going to be social events and festivities around and for some of us it could get very overwhelming. We may also feel the pull to be present at family events because it is meaningful to the people we love. It’s a good time to remind yourself that it’s okay to set boundaries and say no. Drawing boundaries with a family member of yours who comments on your appearance or could be with a toxic friend of yours who does not respect your feelings or just saying no to a social event because it's overwhelming is absolutely okay. Reassess and reevaluate your holiday seasons and practice what brings you joy and peace.
Normalizing the disappointment, establishing new traditions, and managing our own expectations might bring some comfort.
“ A lot has happened this year and yet one may feel like there is still so much one should do but aren’t sure if you’ll be able to do so. But I hope you do know that any small space you create to do nothing at all matters so much more than you know! Even if it's just for some time. Of course, there is risk involved in this, it means that not every item on your to-do list is to be done, not every text get answered and you may not be able to meet every single expectation placed on you but through it, all try to remember you are a human being who has made it through so many experiences and it still matters when you make the room to just be.”
-Morgan Harper Nicolas
Happy New Year!