During this joyful time of year, do you ever find yourself looking for a retail solution to a spiritual problem? Frantically shimmying into a dress maybe one size too small in an effort to find the right holiday party look? Looking for the elusive perfect gift for your difficult brother-in-law and hitting store after store and in a catatonic daze with the florescent mall lighting and muzak giving you a headache? Parched without an Orange Julius in sight?
The holidays have a way of bringing out this type of manic behavior in the best of us. I like to call this phenomenon the “Holi-daze.” A trans-like state through which we function during this overwhelming, over-stimulating, highly drama-filled time of year.
But ‘tis the season and holiday spirit is contagious right about now. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to reach epidemic proportions spreading like a Charlie Sheen rant on Youtube. Although the CDC does not officially recognize this type of sick behavior that inhabits most of the population every December as an ailment, many of us feel the pressure and fatigue building in our bodies and could use a little release from the insanity of Holiday fever. Instead of self-medicating with too much of Aunt Judy’s famous eggnog or clenching your jaw and waiting for the whole ordeal to be over, try a different stance this year by giving yourself the gift that keeps on giving– your personal self worth.
I don’t think I am alone in knowing the feeling of self-esteem taking a whooping around the holidays. The whole pomp and circumstance of December festivities makes the perfect storm for anxiety and insecurity about your life. Factors such as being inundated with boyfriends (or girlfriends) from Christmas (rather: high school) past, buying presents that will take all of 2012 to pay off, dealing with pushy relatives and too much commotion in general all contribute to the well-documented state of holiday blues. But there is one element within your control and that is how you treat and view yourself amidst all of the flurry.
For me, the holidays pose an added layer of stress and, sometimes, frustration. As a recovered alcoholic, these weeks create some vivid recall from my drinking days when Christmas cheer was synonymous with an icy martini and a long night of revelry. But today I have a different agenda in approaching the holiday season. I look forward to genuine time spent with my family and the gift of seeing people close to me that have since moved far away. A successful season is not measured by how great and extravagant the parties and dinners were that I attended. Instead, I look at how meaningful my interactions have become and what a blessing it is to connect with people in the spirit of true joy and giving. For me, this constitutes self-worth. My attitude shift toward my own value as a person, sister, friend and aunt has permeated my relationships with all of those around me.
I place more value now on feeling comfortable in the midst of others and I receive satisfaction in knowing that my more thoughtful and reflective style of communicating makes others feel comfortable as well. I believe people feed off the energy of those by whom they are surrounded. Now I am attracting interesting characters that have something real to say. My new energy comes from my internal transition; the time I have taken to reflect and appreciate what I have to offer.
If you are visiting Mal’s site and reading this column, it is already clear that you are interested in a exploring a road to self-discovery. I am equally willing to wager that you are finding some pretty terrific facets of yourself. So during this holiday season, I invite you to take a little time for yourself in between shopping, cooking and refereeing your relatives to enjoy spending time with someone who knows you best and misses you—yourself. Whether it is meditating or simply deep breathing for five minutes, taking a bath or going for a pedi, give yourself a gift that does not cost a penny but keeps delivering in abundance. Give yourself the best of you.
Erin 2.0 recently celebrated her second anniversary as a sober person with friends, family and her shih tzu, Purdy. After years of living in London, New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco for work and play, she finally hung her hat in Texas where she is currently doing post-graduate work in Addiction Counseling. Her next goal is to get a ten-gallon hat.