Holidays have layers of meaning to humankind. They connote the passage of time; they arouse spiritual connectivity; they surge that communal sense of belonging. They also impose a time reflection, which can be difficult for those that carry the weight of mental health challenges. This can be particularly challenging to women because of the unspoken legend that we are the ones who keep the hearth … which can feel quite desolate when not co-habitated by others. These narratives, however, can be changed. Here are some ideas for how to change it up this year:
1. Proactively ritualize. If we reframe the meaning of these holidays, we might be better able to enjoy them. How might we celebrate gratitude differently on Thanksgiving? Perhaps this is when we send out our holiday cards, with expressions of thank you. Can we plant a Winter Solstice tree instead of the traditional cut pine tree with popcorn strings? On New Years Eve, can we write a farewell letter to our difficulties and then toss it in the fireplace?
2. Alter your calendar. Do you ever feel like it’s hard to make your mood fit the world’s schedule? The time to do it is when you have the energy for it; it’s unlikely that this occurs when the holiday songs start playing in the elevator. Think ahead about the holidays or … take a raincheck. How about a Thanksgiving Feast on February 14?
3. Take yourself out of the picture. Meaning … leave your environment. Perhaps this means booking a cabin with friends a snowy setting. Or maybe it’s time to finally take that trip to Paris that you’ve been talking about for the last five years. Expose yourself to new cultures. Surround yourself with some strangers, and create new rituals that you are excited about.
This is your life and you have a right to live it the way your want. It’s your narrative; so actively transform it to work for you!