Mental Health During the Holidays

Giving Thanks Without Getting Hurt

For everyone that celebrates any of the upcoming holidays, I want to remind you all that a Holiday shouldn’t be an open invitation for additional trauma & stress! Some people are able to go into the holidays with the excitement of a child on Christmas Eve. Excited anticipation of the magic & love that is right around the corner.

Protecting Yourself from Stress During the Holidays

For many people, and for many reasons, the holidays are very stressful. I have had times in the past when I cried because I couldn’t find my mother’s Christmas ornaments or her recipe for broccoli casserole. Many people find the holidays hard when they are grieving the loss of someone they want to be there with them.

I have had holidays where I left the family gathering so angry that I sent my dad long text messages on the way home about the person that hurt me while I was there. I am sure that didn’t help HIS holiday stress!

There are people in our lives that hurt us. Sometimes, one of those people is ourselves!

Setting boundaries with your loved ones is hard, especially around the holidays. You can love someone unconditionally and still keep yourself at a distance because they hurt you.

Taking Care of Yourself Doesn’t Make You Selfish

I try to have a grateful heart every day. I have had terrible losses and trauma, but I am still very blessed. It took me A LONG time to get to where I could see that. Sometimes, I still have a hard time “feeling” that, even though logically, I know it is true!

2022 has been a rough year for me, but so many amazingly wonderful things also happened. I can (and do) spend time focusing on how long and hard our move from Georgia to Kentucky was, how I am terrible at being an “empty-nester,” and how I have made some poor career choices that created toxicity in my life. Right now, at this precise moment, I am looking out my office window on our beautiful farm in the mountains of Kentucky, and the stress of a move that took a full year doesn’t matter.

Right now, I am working on my Podcast, exhilarated by this step that really is a direct result of having an “empty nest.” I have spent my entire life taking care of people, being a mom, sister, wife, daughter, and so many things that defined me by the relationship that I was in, by who I was to someone else rather than who I am to myself.

I love that I had all of those experiences, but with this empty nest that I struggle with, I am FINALLY doing something that is about the person that I AM outside of my relationships. This is terrifying in a very exciting way! It is that moment when you are at the top of the rollercoaster and know you are about to start flying through twists and turns!

I know I got off-topic! The message that I want to get out there is that a holiday is NOT AN EXCUSE for people to hurt you. You do not have to “suck it up” and just let in the trauma! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, but I want you to know you can still protect your heart!

*Originally posted on LinkedIn when the website was under construction (just a tiny bit of self-plagiarism)

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