Sometimes keeping our sanity this time of year can be a Herculean feat. The holidays are so out-of-the-norm. New stuff, disturbances in our usual routines, visiting friends and family we normally don’t see. It’s a tsunami of uncommon experiences.
Now don’t get me wrong. I dig the holidays (mostly). But they can present some challenges. Our early ancestors experienced challenges too. This was a hard time of year for early humankind. In fact, some of the roots of Christmas traditions today were born from early darkness. Specifically, the darkest day of the year.
To explain, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and hence, the darkest. It was a time that was symbolic of unknowns and mystery for early folks This solstice brought up questions like: “How harsh will the weather be this year?”, “Can I provide for my family through the winter?”, “Will we be spared illness?”, “Do I have enough food?”.
To counteract some of these fears, early Nature-centric societies started implementing good juju into their lives. For example, they brought evergreens or lit candles in the home to brighten the gloom of encroaching darkness this time of year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). The scent of pine evergreen boughs and the sight of flickering candlelight is invigorating and proven to lighten the mood. Interestingly, these practices eventually grew into our modern-day Christmas trees!
There are lots of old practices that uplift this sometimes anxious time of year. Check out my Symbolic Meaning of Christmas post to explore a few.
Let’s face it. The holiday season is NOT for sissies. It certainly wasn’t for our ancestors way back when…and even though our challenges have morphed, in many ways, today’s challenges are just as stressful.
With this in mind, I think it’s important to be OK with a certain level of discomfort this time of year. Putting on a happy face is admirable, but recognizing how the holidays can be potentially unhinging is okay too.
The good news is, we can reduce holiday anxiety with just a few small attitude adjustments. How? By being grateful. By having a laugh. By poking fun at some of the lunacy that goes on this time of year. By appreciating what we have. By giving to others who need more than we do.
Sound too simple? Too cliche? Maybe. But I know this: Making internal choices to shift our perception results in external shifts that match our vision. Just thinking.
As always, thanks for reading.
I hope all your holiday moments are magical and mostly stress-free.