The holidays can be a difficult time. Socially we are faced with stressors to present as joyful engaged and happy while triggers for stress and loss surrounds us. Holidays can be seen as an opportunity to be extra mindful of our feelings and to give yourself permission to connect with energy that fills us instead of the depleting our recourses and leaving us low.
When we celebrate a special time and make it meaningful we attach memories and feelings to it these serve as reminders for both good times and bad. When we go through trauma or loss, the people that hurt us, the ones that failed to protect us and the ones we loved and abandoned us - even if their leaving us was not out of choice like death, illness, accident, incarceration - the holiday is a trigger for loss. Loss can also be triggered within ourselves - partners we are no longer with, injuries of trust in our relationships, friends we disconnected from, places and things we are no longer a part of. We constantly change and lose parts of ourselves and the holiday can remind us of the past often in the way we remember it at this moment and not necessarily as the full realistic event. Our feeling at the moment colors it or the fantasy and craving for something else we wish. For individuals in recovery the holiday adds a challenge of environment where people use to celebrate- using to escape the triggered hurt or using for the illusion of connecting with happiness and joy otherwise believed to be unachievable.
Preparation for the holiday can be full of stress too, financially, socially but particularly around relationships, stress that easily turns into worries, agitation, tension and conflicts. Family get together or the absence of such events can easily send our mind spiraling into thoughts of loss, hopelessness, desperation and resentment. If we are not mindful of our thoughts and choices around this time it is easy to slip into a dark place where we create damage in our life. The darkness outside during November-December also impacts our mood and is another reminder of how active we must be in being mindful of the choices we make around this time- in this example seeking hours of sun light. Mindfulness calls to intention, active attentive and directed focus when we experience our feelings, our thoughts and our every day being in our actions in the world, alone and with others.