We’re Making The Holidays Stressful By Saying The Holidays Are Stressful

Let’s try a new approach, yes?

Photo by Rumman Amin on Unsplash

Happy week of Christmas, everyone.

Given the surge in Omicron cases, everyone is a tad more annoyed than normal around this time of year — which, for some, could very well be the tipping point of snapping at the grocery store clerk whose mask slips below her nostrils as she hands you your inflated prices receipt.

And it got me thinking…

Why do we give into caring about things we actually don’t give a damn about? Just because we’re bombarded with ads on how to get the “look for less” this season (sparkly jumpsuit for $29.99 on Amazon!) and which gift guide to follow for the “person who has everything” on your list (a smoothie maker! Monogrammed towels!) it doesn’t mean we have to succumb to the ridiculous purchasing (and socializing) pressure society puts on us this time of year.

At the risk of sounding like a grinch, who gives a damn about what other people do or don’t do with their lives? During the holidays and every other time? If it isn’t affecting us personally, and especially isn’t doing so in a negative way, why, WHY do we care?

HERE’S A THEORY:

We’re making the holidays stressful simply by saying the holidays are stressful.

My solution?! To take the holidays less seriously. How can we achieve this? For starters, we can wear an outfit that makes us feel fun and youthful and vibrant instead of stuffy and boring and serious. We can choose not to obsess over eating a cinnamon roll for breakfast. We can recognize that the importance of our existence is not dependent on productivity porn, Instagram likes, and remodeled kitchens.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Getting over ourselves could be juuussstt the ticket to a life well lived

I was listening to a podcast yesterday on the importance of positive psychiatry, where Dr. Samantha Boardman, New-York based positive psychiatrist, told us that “wellbeing has become too internalized,” meaning, we are way too much in our heads about our own trivial problems, which prevents us from seeing outside the scope of what’s happening in our own little self-absorbed bubble.

“It’s really in the fabric and the web of our connections to others that creates this communal uplift that allows us to take opportunities and see beyond our little narrow telescoping,” Dr. Boardman said.

Her advice for getting out of our head and into service is twofold:

  • ONE: Find someone who is struggling more than you (or the same as you) and help them, as one of the best ways to tap into motivation is to GIVE.
  • TWO: Be deliberate about what delights you. Dr. Boardman says, “If you aren’t deliberate about what delights you, you will never see it. Our brain tends to go to the negative, so finding what delights you is how you can feel more vital in your everyday life.”

TAKEAWAY THOUGHT

Life would be so much more enjoyable if we stopped listening to what everyone else expects of us, and start living how we want to live — now and every other time of year.

Ashley is a writer based in Connecticut specializing in mental health. She believes our weirdness is what makes us great.

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Ashley Alt

Ashley Alt

Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/

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