If you’ve read my posts lately, you know I think the holidays are a time filled with joy, cheer, and happiness. But, the holidays can also be hard. Maybe, you lost someone you loved or maybe, life just doesn’t look the way you wanted it to.
It’s okay to be sad during the holidays. It’s okay to struggle during the holidays. Just because the season is beautiful doesn’t mean all your problems somehow instantly go away.
For me, the holidays always fall at the same time as finals and I have a difficult past of dealing with tests. When I was in the second grade, I got hives every night before I would take a standardized test. This continued for the rest of my grade school and high school experience. My freshman year of college, I could not keep food down for two days before my statistics final– my nerves overwhelmed me. This past midterm season, I worked myself so hard that I ended up crying of exhaustion on my couch at 3 AM one night. So, whenever finals season approaches in December, all the joy I have built up for the holiday season comes crashing down around me as I am filled with this test anxiety that has come to play a major role in my life.
And, suddenly, I feel full of dread every day when I think about how Christmas is coming closer, but that also means my tests are coming closer. Then, I beat myself up for that thought because how could I ever dread the beauty of the holiday season? How could I ever feel so many negative emotions during my favorite time of year?
It’s okay to struggle.
Giving myself the permission to struggle is so important in changing the way I view myself and my difficulties. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean my problems go away or I should ignore them: they are what make me human. I have to confront them and deal through them, not hide them away and feel guilty for struggling.
Maybe, you’re a student having the problems as me this finals season or it’s your first Christmas without a loved one or your family situation has changed recently. Whatever your situation, the message still is the same: you are allowed to struggle during the holidays. You are allowed to be sad, happy, angry, frustrated, and confused all at once. You don’t need to hide what you’re going through or feel guilty for it. You have done nothing wrong.
This holiday season, let yourself be true. Let yourself be real.