What makes holidays difficult? Its not what most people think…

No one wants to talk about it…why holidays don’t ever work out like the ones in the movies. Or if they do bring it up, the topic gets brushed off with an explanation involving a break up or the loss of a loved one. But I’ve had neither this year and still I am struggling. I want to go back to the childhood wonder and excitement that Christmas used to bring. The joy of decorating the tree, making cookies, driving around town to see Christmas lights, wrapping gifts, setting the table for a festive meal, anticipating the arrival of family members…what happened to all of that?

I think stress is holding me hostage. I want to be excited about Christmas day, but I’m hosting which means I have too much to do ahead of time to enjoy the days leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Day, a lot of stressful things are going to happen for me… cleaning my entire house at the last minute so it doesn’t get dirty again before people arrive; not everyone is going to get along, there will be disagreements/ arguments; people will be late; I have no idea what time we are actually going to sit down to eat; opening gifts while everyone watches; preparing all the food; washing all the dishes; clean up afterwards; the volume of multiple conversations all going on at the same time in the same room… definitely not a peaceful day.

As an introvert and an empath, the holidays can be a nightmare. I want to spend time with my loved ones, but it’s overwhelming to have that many people around me all at the same time. I feel the anxiety, joy, stress, angst, and awkwardness of every person in the room…all at the same time and it’s exhausting. The closer it gets, the more I just want to run away to some remote cabin in the woods and curl up with a can of soup and a good book.

I hate feeling this way because I love the people who are coming to spend the day with us and I actually love to cook. So I’m working on a holiday survival strategy and here’s what I have so far:

Take breaks from the chaos by retreating to my bedroom to read or meditate as needed.

Use (gasp) paper plates and plastic cutlery.

Enlist everyone’s help to clean up (at least the wrapping paper & used paper goods) before they leave.

Take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. (hey, we’re talking survival here)

That’s it…that’s what I’ve got. What strategies do you use when the holiday is too much for you to handle?

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