The Fa la la la Myth

December is coming. Brace yourself. And while we may not see the likes of a Game of Thrones undead apocalypse, the holiday season can feel like its own emotional war.

Holiday cheer is not universal. And whatever you celebrate chances are December marks the time that requires one to be endlessly filled with joy. Scrooge be damned.  If you don’t want peace on earth and good will toward mankind, what the hell is wrong with you?  Why aren’t you singing Christmas Carols with your neighbors and purchasing your holiday paraphernalia and endless varieties of spiced apple cider from the nearest Williams Sonoma?  Between the ubiquitous holiday music found everywhere from your Uber ride to your office holiday party, and all spaces in between, you must manage your mandatory holiday cheer even if you are feeling less than fabulous.

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For many of us December burns because it signals reminders of the parts of our lives that aren’t so cheery. Family challenges, loss, end of the year deadlines, anxiety and loneliness are front and center during the most wonderful time of the year. While most may not suffer from clinical depression, holiday doldrums are real. The challenge is to not let the season of unreasonable expectations muck up a time of year worth celebrating. Don’t let this period of decorative trees, bright lights and all things shiny send you into a winter funk. There are ways to fight back.

Stop watching A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and A Miracle on 34th Street.

Viewing is not mandatory. These sappy old school programs may tap into your feelings of loss and loneliness and unleash the “shoulds”. I should be with someone or I should be happier. I should be feeling anything other than what I am feeling. The “shoulds” can be destructive and keep you from the jewels of the present. There is no one prescription for joy.  Do you.

If holiday music is your thing, then of course indulge. Otherwise just say, “NO.”

When Joy to the World blares out of any speaker and Deck the Halls creeps into your daily routine, just say, no. If these songs trigger your anxiety about life events or what to gift your picky in-laws, it is time to let go of this holiday hook.

Move

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Move your body. A lot. Endorphins make like magic and provide a natural high. Whatever emotion takes you hostage fight back with a brisk walk or run. Fearful of the future? Scared your holly will never be as jolly as you planned? Another year passed and you still didn’t climb that mountain or get that promotion? Your love life is on pause when the world seems to be coupling up? Move. Move. And move some more. Channel Forrest Gump and RUN until all that stuff is behind you.

Remember the Reason for the Season.

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Regardless of your faith or dogma, December is a good time to reflect and be grateful for all the lessons the year has brought. I guarantee you that something good, amazing even, has happened in your life this year. Take a moment and remember the love shared with friends and family. Remember the lives you have touched and the people who have touched you in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. Be grateful that you are still here and ready to greet the new year with your Warrior ways.