There’s a phenomenon that I notice as the holidays approach – it’s like a time compression or a time warp. The list of things I want to accomplish seems to grow longer and the time in which I have to wrap things up for the year seems to grow shorter. There are other “symptoms” associated with this phenomenon as well. . .
- I want to (and often do) sleep longer or later than usual (winter hibernation?).
- I obsess about my calendar, repeatedly checking to make sure I’m not missing a commitment.
- I make more lists than usual and check them more than twice!
- Everything seems to take longer than I’d planned, whether it is washing the dishes or preparing a meal.
- Laundry seems to multiply – seriously, does the dryer make more socks?
- I seem to be “out of stuff” that would ordinarily be in my refrigerator or pantry.
It feels like a general sense of disorientation, one that make me feel pressured and at the same time confusingly disorganized (certainly not my usual, comfortable state!). My world seems blurry when most of the time, everything is distinct and crystal clear!
Maybe something like this happens to you as well. We’ve talked about holiday stress, but this is different, it’s more like holiday fog – and it feels very disruptive to me.
Here’s what I do about this disruptive sense of disorientation that besets me at the holidays. . .
- First, I recognize that this is a seasonal phenomenon, it will pass when Christmas is over and the New Year approaches.
- Second, it is predictable and, while I sense it as disruptive, I remind myself that this is just my nervous system, getting anxious about my “to-do” list and responsibilities.
- Third, I make a cup of tea and sort out what MUST be accomplished today, just today.
This all seems to make the disruption diminish and helps me manage what’s right in front of me – the priorities for today, and nothing further down the road. It also allows me to be present today and not caught up in a state of anxiety over tomorrow, the next day, and so on.
Whatever you experience as the holidays approach, whatever disruption it brings into your life, remember to breathe! Tomorrow will take care of itself – yes, you may need to do some planning, some adjusting of your schedule, some negotiation with others when life gets too busy, but this is all manageable, if you breathe!
I wish you a calm and replenishing holiday season – next week we’ll be in the midst of celebration – today, we can sink into the appreciation that not everything we intend to accomplish is critical, some of it may not even be important. Make some space in your busiest days to welcome the joys of the season, as well as the excitement it may bring. You’ll get through this if you simply choose not to awfulize about it – and like everything else in life, it will pass!
Be well, celebrate joyfully, let go of whatever disruption your holiday phenomenon brings, and sink into the beauty of the season that surrounds us.