The holidays can be so hard, whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of responsibilities you have. Taking time for yourself after a big holiday is so important.
This year, my holiday season looked different than it ever has before, and at times I just felt so overwhelmed and burnt out. Today, I’m working on doing things only for me to help recover some of the identity that I felt I lost this year.
About a month and a half ago, my partner of nearly seven years and I decided to split up. It was for the best, but it also happened right before Thanksgiving, with Christmas and New Years right around the corner. Every year, we would split our time between the two of our families for the holidays, and this year that, of course, didn’t happen. We didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner at his family’s, and I actually spent the day working a private party so didn’t get much of a chance to spend time with my family, either.
On Christmas Eve, when I’d usually see my entire extended family and end the evening at his family’s for dessert, I bartended. I did get the chance to see some of my oldest friends who I’ve known for 15+ years, which was so fun. It was the first time I was with friends on Christmas Eve, and the fact that it was people who I love so dearly and never get to see felt so special.
Christmas Day was also very different. It was the first time in nearly a decade that I was able to spend the whole day with my immediate family. It felt like being a kid again, but it also felt strange not being with his family or not having to go to work. I also went to a friend’s birthday party in the evening and played Christmas-themed games all night, which is something I typically would have done with either my family or my previous partner’s family. This was the first year I’ve ever felt like an actual adult during the holidays because it was the first time I’d had the autonomy to decide what I wanted to do without fear of letting someone else down. That ability, while freeing, also felt strange.
Holidays are so heavily built around tradition that when those traditions suddenly and drastically change, it can feel very uncomfortable whether or not those changes are positive. I’d be lying if I said this Christmas didn’t totally feel like Christmas, so I’m working on grounding myself today through self-care.
I’m practicing self-care by giving myself a little extra grace right now. I let myself sleep in today, and I’m letting myself say no to things I don’t have the emotional capacity to do this week. I packed a lot of new experiences into two days that have always been planned out to a T before, and I recognize that I need a little bit of a break.
This Christmas has been very different for a lot of people, and if you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed by the past few days, that’s okay. Even if you had a good holiday, it’s okay to still feel a lot of feelings surrounding the season. It’s okay to need to take time for yourself. Give yourself grace this week, and allow yourself to work through whatever emotions may have come up over the past few days.
As always, stay safe + stay healthy.