Another holiday season is upon us. For many, the holidays are filled with the joy that we associate with that time of year. There are many positive memories that remind us of Christmas snow, decorations, stockings hung by the fireplace and wrapped presents under the tree. These “memories” can evoke a sense of cozy, nostalgic feelings of the holiday season. It’s as if there’s a sense of magic in the air.
But, for some of us, the holidays can be difficult and lonely. And for many years I fell into this category. I used to love celebrating the holidays with my family and friends. I would eagerly look forward to it every year and start planning months in advance. But then things changed when I got divorced six years ago. For the first time in my life I found myself completely alone on the holidays without my family or my kids.
I will be the first one to admit that I didn’t handle the holiday season very well on my own. Little events throughout the season would trigger sadness and depression in me. I would open holidays cards and see bright shiny happy faces in a perfect family setting and read stories about how amazing and perfect their lives are. I would show up to holiday parties and often be the only single person there. As the loneliness and sadness surfaced with these different “triggers”, the voices in my head became louder. Those voices kept repeating old, familiar painful stories about not being loveable or belonging over and over in my mind. To ease the pain and discomfort that the stories brought up, I would often turn to drinking wine. The wine was good at helping me temporarily numb my pain and the voices seemed to go away…. But it always led to other issues. I would make poor decisions and say things that couldn’t be taken back. The next day I would wake up with a massive headache but even worse I would be lying in the bed I made full of guilt, remorse and shame. All the emotional triggers from the holidays caused me to slowly spiral out of control and my life became a hot mess.
After the fog from the wine lifted from my head, I started to see that I needed to make a change. This pattern of behavior clearly wasn’t working for me. I realized that I needed help in managing myself in those “triggering” moments. Naturally, I turned to what I know and do best. I used a combination of my legal skills and my yoga knowledge to put together a “program” that would help me to anticipate and be more aware of the emotional triggers when they arose and then a step-by-step process for how to manage myself once I became triggered. The “program” draws from a variety of mindfulness tools and teachings that I have learned over the years. This “program” that I created over six years ago slowly evolved into my Power of the Pause Program, a 2-hour program that offers simple and effective tools for managing stress, anxiety and overwhelm in your daily life.
This program changed my life. I no longer dread the holidays and I have tools and strategies in my back pocket when I start to feel my anxiety kick in around the sadness I feel when I am alone during holiday celebrations or the social awkwardness that comes up at holiday parties and family events. The program has helped me “flip the script” on my life and see the opportunities and benefits that my family situation presents me during the holidays. Rather than being a victim, I chose to take my power back over my life. And you can do it too!!
I am offering a special 2 hour workshop called The Power of the Pause: The Holiday Edition, on Saturday, November 16th from 2-4 pm at kOMpose. If you also struggle with anxiety, stress or depression during the holidays, you are not alone and there is a better way. You can learn more about the program by clicking the link here