Suzie Daggett: Holiday challenges | TheUnion.com

Suzie Daggett: Holiday challenges

Suzie Daggett
Columnist

Yikes! The holiday weeks are here with bright colored lights, endless looping songs, presents, events of all kinds and enticing rich food.

This can be a sacred time of inner reflection plus happy hugging get-togethers with family or friends. Invitations to parties with succulent foods and drinks are accepted with excitement.

Your gratitude for the season is visible. You relish putting up decorations, cookie making, present sharing, singing and spiritual service where you give to others with gratitude.

Others may have an opposite reaction — the season may be a time of dread and stress. They may want to pull back and hide. They choose not be seen, deflecting invitations, celebrations, family, friends and presents.

Holiday stress is due to countless situations: a painful life event few people know about; grieving a recent death; a new illness not under control nor revealed; losing a job; a 20-year relationship on rocky ground; or a painful childhood memory of the season.

If you are stressed by the holidays and find yourself at an event, you may smile and act as if all is well when it is not, thus adding to your suffering.

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Staying away from large groups may be an answer. Gravitating to close friends or family who know your back-story maybe a salvation and a way to honor what you are going through.

Ignoring holiday stress puts one in a position of imbalance. The mind will keep trying to be "fine" with the holidays, while the heart and soul suffer.

Make time to sit quietly or use mindful meditation techniques to uncover and lessen your heartache, or talk your thoughts out with a friend who will listen and agree not to fix you.

If sharing unhappiness with a friend is not viable, steer clear of people, places and events creating discomfort. It is important to recognize the holidays are not a time to pretend to celebrate when there is inner confusion, stress or challenges.

Instead of suffering in situations in which you are uncomfortable, create new ways to celebrate without the normal holiday ingredients. Be impulsive and travel (even to the next town for a movie), hike in the rain, read a silly book, begin a knitting or drawing project, plan a new spring adventure or serve those who need your attention.

Challenging one's self to get beyond discomfort can help replace the weight of the holidays with inner contentment. You may discover a sense of freedom.

For those who love the holiday season, celebrate! Enjoy the beauty, magic and wonder of the season.

Also recognize not everyone will celebrate as you do. Be sensitive to those who do not share your joy. Be gentle and smile with kindness as you send them healing energy to ease their holiday challenges.

Although not wrapped in a shiny bow, your heartfelt understanding may be the best present you can give.

Suzie Daggett is a writer and speaker. Her newest book is "The Pink Door: Moms' Journey to the Other Side" where she shares her thoughts about the passage from life to death. Suzie.daggett@gmail.com or http://www.suziedaggett.com.

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