To be crystal clear, I'm not referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a medical condition that affects many.
I am referring to that low sneaky heartache that can grab us this time of year. It sucks the fun from "The Most Wonderful Time" of the psycho-spiritual-seasonal wheel.
Even as a person who utterly enjoys the mania of the holidays, I began noticing that little shadow today--
as I'm sure many of you have as well.
Where does it come from?
It doesn't help that winter in this part of the world is hard physically and emotionally. That's just science. No bones about it, love bugs.
Maybe the Blues stems from a soft disappointment about where the year took us. Or left us. Where did it go? Is anything different?
This season seems to deplete our power to bullshit ourselves.
It can be profound, distressing and eye opening.
We may feel hyper aware of people we miss. Suddenly more sensitive to our grief than usual.
Maybe while being pelted with obnoxious commercials, elevator carols and unrealistic expectations we become acutely self conscious about stuff we think we lack: money, perfect relationships, idealized mythical nuclear families.
You know-- Bells tinkling as snow softly drifts down in front of a kitchen window. Enter two white laughing yuppies in cable knit sweaters surprising one another with tanks donning bows the size of kiddie pools.
All is calm. All is bright.
Perhaps the Blues is brought on by the subtle anxiety of having to repeatedly explain yourself at work functions and family gatherings. Nothing makes you feel as weird as being grilled by a relative (that you're not even quite sure how you are related) about the state of your uterus, or lack of marriage or about "getting a real job".
It can be brutal, bunnies.
So what can we do?
I don't think we need to "beat" the Holiday Blues. There are THOUSANDS of lists asserting ways to Buck The Fuck Up and Fa La La La La.
And that's great. I mean it. Do things that make you feel better.
But remember: It is 100% Perfectly Acceptable to feel how you feel.
We have permission to feel it.
Honor it by recognizing it.
We can also give ourselves credit for being multifaceted. Humans have the incredible paradoxical ability to hold two conflicting beliefs and not explode.
Pain and gratitude can snuggle up together.
We can experience grief and love simultaneously.
Uncertainty and optimism can coexist.
It is possible to honor more than one feeling. More than one way of being.
Let's be contradictions.
While we're at it, let's amp up our Self Care.
Not sure what Self Care means? Here's a quick way to find out:
Ask yourself, What would someone who loves themselves do?
The answer might be to eat some green stuff, to decline an invitation to a party you'd rather not go to, to work on a project you've been ignoring, gifting yourself some alone time, or going to bed early because you really need the rest.
OR conversely it just might be getting gussied up and getting yourself to a party, being around people, having that extra shot of espresso or staying up late for that movie marathon...
Whatever jives with you. Ask yourself that question as many times a day as you need.
You know what your Self Care answers are.
Be gentle with yourself.
As we dive deeper into winter, the trappings of the holidays, and the potential flow of the Blues--
I hope you'll remember the kaleidoscopic creature you are: remembering the parts that hurt are worth just as much as the sparkly colored bits.
All of them are necessary.
Be a paradox. Be absurd. Take care of you.
Much Love for the Season Ahead,