Do you love the holidays? Normally, I do. But this year, I can attest to feeling a little bit of holiday exhaustion. So, what should you do when everywhere you go, and every blog post you read, is about whatever current holiday (or spoke in the Wheel of the Year) is gearing up for the big party day but you’re just not feeling it? Here are a couple of tips for your consideration.
Give Yourself Permission To Say “No”
When it comes to Halloween, I love sharing candy with trick-or-treaters. There is a fun energy still remembered from this rite of childhood. Creating costumes and the excitement of scurrying about in the dark in search of sweets.
Over the years, I’ve been prepared to hand out candy to children at my door. However, there have been times when I just haven’t felt like being part of the party. Perhaps you feel the same way but are experiencing societal or familial peer pressure to conform.
Maybe you’re too tired after returning home from work to hand out candy. Perhaps you’re experiencing depression (something many folks deal with from mid-Autumn through Winter). And then there is the retail market saturation since August of candy, decorations and costumes. But truth be told, you don’t need a reason. Do what feels best for you.
Take The Proverbial Day Off
Tell people you need a holiday break. Compromise where necessary (especially if you’ve got kids or special family traditions) but delegate escort responsibilities to someone else. Turn off the porch light. And when it comes to the other holidays, don’t host the big dinner, let someone else decorate or don’t decorate at all. Kick your feet back on “The Day”, order take-out and watch a movie or find something to do which meets your need.
It’s okay not to celebrate or participate in the holidays, any of them, if you don’t have the emotional/physical/spiritual/mental energy. There are no hard and fast rules which say you must observe or celebrate the Wheel of the Year. Unless you’re in a tradition which does say that. I’m a Solitary Witch. What do I know about working in a coven or group? The point is, talk to your leadership if you need to bow out of a ritual, celebration, etc.
Check Your Spoons
3 Pagan and a Cat has a SPOONS episode. The emphasis is on self-care in paganism. Learning to manage one’s energy levels, especially if diagnosed with a physical or mental health issue (such as depression, bi-polar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, diabetes, cancer, etc.) is crucial to one’s life balance.
Wikipedia describes the SPOONS theory as “…a visual representation used as a unit of measure in order to quantify how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest.”
In short, using SPOONS can help a person both determine and verbalize their energy level. This can be very helpful during the holiday season when stress, anxiety and social activity ramp up to high speed. And it may be that you can sail through observance of Samhain and Halloween but need a break in November. Maybe you need to spend all of October and November storing up SPOONS for Yule, Christmas or both.
Regardless, knowing your personal energy levels can go a long way toward improving self-care. And as much as I may love holidays, it’s good to have a system of managment which is sustainable (at least for me) in the long term.