Holidays are usually associated with family get-togethers, excitement, and joy, especially nowadays, when modern society insists on perpetual cheerfulness. At the end of the year, we tend to look back on and evaluate the months behind us. But memory can be biased and we tend to predominantly remember the things we’ve done wrong. In order to defend ourselves from our own judgmental mind, we decide to make new decisions. Turn the page. Go big next year.
We decide to quit smoking. Become a better parent. Find a job. Get a raise. Exercise.
Suddenly there’s a rush of positive emotions. We’re excited, motivated, and determined.
Then comes the Christmas and New Year celebrations when we eat too much, drink too much, over-socialize, spend lots of money, lose a lot of energy, and gain a few pounds.
Then January ends, and we haven’t done anything. It might even seem like we’ve fallen behind. We become irritated by the simplest tasks, sad, tired, and lonely. We might feel like a failure as we struggle on, trying to hide how exhausted and close to tears we are inside.
Since the human brain is designed to work based on associations, we might even begin to feel lonely, indifferent, and guilty with the first Christmas decorations. In order to save ourselves from disappointment, we quit even before we get started. Our Christmas gift to ourselves becomes melancholy, sadness, and a major case of the blues.
With this, the holidays become fertile territory for conflicts, break-ups, and big changes in our life circumstances. And it all arises from our own feelings of pressure, responsibility, and the high expectations we impose on ourselves.
The solution is not to blame the economy, country, partner, kids, boss, neighbors or Santa, or sit around feeling bad about who we are. We can’t abandon our lives. There are too many people depending on us. We need to take responsibility and examine the expectations we impose on ourselves. Ask these questions:
How (non)realistic are our expectations?
Why do we quit so early on?
Why is it so difficult to tolerate the frustration we feel?
We must remind ourselves that these feelings touch everyone. Sadness is a basic reality for all of us. We’re often harder on ourselves then we would be on a friend. So for starters, we should at least allow ourselves the same degree of forgiveness we wouldn’t hesitate to grant to an acquaintance.
Circumstances we thought we could never get over gradually become bearable. We adjust our thinking and grow accustomed to our new reality. But most importantly, we should always remember that asking for help is courageous, never shameful.
To get your new year started on a positive step, book a free consultation call with one of our Coaches.
Author: Coach Daria P.