Seasonal Survival Guide 2021-2022

By Briana King –

I woke up this morning and looked at my calendar. It’s already the end of November! With it brings pleasantries of family gatherings, feelings of gratitude and a time to connect with those who bring the most joy. It’s a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and the upcoming year ahead. For me, this is my favorite time of year!

In an attempt to spread the holiday spirit I reached out to members of my cohort. Many find the season wonderful for the same reasons, however, there’s an extra existential burden placed this time of year. Many report an overbearing expectation from friends and family. The overwhelming need to please, prioritize gatherings and the dread of gift perfection are too much. Better described as keeping up with the Jones’s.

So, how do we ensure that our energy Is protected during this holiday season? How do we assure that our lives are not played out like those from the “Griswold Family Christmas”?

This can be challenging at a time where many have not been in face-to-face contact with their family members during the holidays for some time. There’s a new level of expectancy from some.

Many are finding new ways to beat the holiday woes. A common tradition after Thanksgiving is Black Friday. Many have continued the tradition but with new structures in place. Curbside pick-up has allowed for more family time and less groups of people standing in line for the next ticket item. As I explain this I realize that this is my worst nightmare. When it comes to gifting many families are finding gifts to be of non-importance this year. Many have taken it upon themselves to forego gift buying in hopes to recreate more holiday spirit and connectedness. Others have forgoed traveling all together utilizing Zoom to connect. The expansion of new systems to provide the same outcome has been helpful for some.

For others, environmental techniques aren’t as promising as internal. Many have expanded into a meditative practice; spending more time seeking connection inwardly. This can have a very calming and expanding effect for those feeling the holiday burn. For some, it’s taking a full 20 minutes for deep meditation; for others, it’s taking one minute to focus on their breath. Many are realizing that it may be challenging to change what is going on around them. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what’s going on inside.

The holidays are important to connect with those that we care about. While many would say we should do this all the time, some find an extra push this time of year. My hope is that if you, or someone you know are experiencing holiday burnout that some of these techniques may be helpful.

May the year ahead bring joy and the solstice find you well.