ON HOLIDAYS & SOCIAL HANGOVERS

Today is Christmas Day and I’m sitting home alone with a beer. To some, sad – “why not with family?” To others, the dream – “I’d kill for some peace and quiet during the holidays’. For me, it’s neither sad nor fulfilling.  I’ve done my best over the holiday period to watch my anxiety and not over-commit. When I was feeling run down, I skipped my some of the work holiday parties. I thought about expectations of others and decided to place myself first. And I thought I was managing, until yesterday I imploded.

I’m not even sure how it happened, but upon reflection, I know what happened. I wasn’t honest enough to speak the truth about the holidays. I tried in advance to tell them that I wasn’t feeling it this year. But then I crumbled when I saw the disappointment on their faces.

“But we’re family! You should be able to come and relax and not have anxiety with us.” I couldn’t bear to admit to myself that it still felt too much. So I tried anyway. I made it to the Wednesday event, then the Thursday event. Friday came and I attended two events – two in one day! That’s pretty good for me. Saturday, another two events.And it went on and on.

Looking back, no wonder I crumbled. I’m supposed to be resting and recovering, which means limiting my social engagements as they are simply too draining for me.

Then I heard my dad was sad. He was going to be alone on Christmas Even. While I’d adamantly stated that I would rest on Christmas Eve to be ready for Christmas Day, I ignored my inner self and put him first. I invited him to dinner. And it was lovely.

However, in the car on the way home I started to crumble. My stomach was doing flip-flops. I felt tired, dizzy, irritated. Almost like a social hangover. My inner self was screaming “what have you DOONNNEEE? Too much noise! Too many people! Just stay inside and rest!” This was followed by sadness, uncontrollable sobbing and feeling miserable.

The last thing I ever want to do is let people down. I should have said no earlier. I should have told my family that I don’t want to celebrate Christmas anymore. I should have just spoken the truth. Hindsight right? I just wanted to make them happy.

So instead, I called off Christmas for myself. I deleted all social apps on my phone, and made a resolution to stop being so connected all the time. I’m taking a social detox. No more whatsapp, no more constantly checking emails and messages. No more effort being made to constantly connect to people.

It might sound extreme, but I think it’s the next step in my life to focus on what really matters. If I’d done that earlier, I might have made Christmas, who knows. I know I let my family down with the last minute change of plans.

Lesson learned, the hard way. Now it’s me and the beer, plus these thoughts.

Hope this doesn’t sound too dreadful. I just kinda wanted to share, as I think a lot of us out there mean well, and hate to disappoint people. But being present is more than simply showing up, so taking care of yourself is prime.

Until next year.

Much love,

Ella

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