T’is the season to be holly jolly, t’is the season to be hygge and comfy, t’is the season to cuddle up and be grateful, t’is the season for togetherness, t’is the season for family and friends… and because t’is that season in our day and age, t’is also the season in which our chronic stress and fatigue and overwhelm seem to get an extra load, and t’turns into the season of more busy than ever for so many of us. And while what I am about to write is no news, it may suggest even more weight to stress levels.
Friends, I’m asking for us to take time to take time to check up on each other – for in the midst of the hustle and bustle of glühwine, present-buying, house cleaning, project finishing, trip planning and grocery shopping, I am asking for us to STOP and make some house calls, too.
Two facebook posts that reflected my current state of emotions prompted me to write this.
One reminded me today that it is the season of depression and suicide, too.
A quick wiki search to remind us on SAD: “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also called winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, and seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter.”
This post came me to on a particularly gloomy day, so it hit a nerve.
Yes, it is Winter, it is dark and cold where I am, it is Christmas with all the above-mentioned stressors and exciters and more… and it is also Sunday as I write. A beautiful day to retreat and cocoon, to spend time with family; a sacred day for many of us, when we get to focus on the people closest to us.
The flip side of Sunday is one I personally know well; the Sunday blues, which can be harshest for those of us who live alone. Even with a life and a phone-list full of people who love us and care for us, on family-cocooning days, those people who love us will be with their family, busy and cocooning. And as supportive as loving whatsapp messages are intended, they don’t replace actual presence or hugs.
And then there was this post on elephant journal, an online journal I follow… and it made me cry.
“It’s those qualities and aspects of life that I’ve never experienced, and that always seem to remain just out of reach, that would truly make my heart sing. What I want is to feel the deliciousness of having someone have my back, someone to be that partner for me, someone I know I don’t even need to call in order for them to be there in the moments I need them the most.”
Yes, these could be my words.
Sometimes we just want someone to be there without having to ask anyone to be there… because, frankly, in the moments when we really need someone we often don’t even know WHO to ask.
I also think we forget that asking for help, or sheer presence, takes a lot of energy in itself – for in the days of chronic busy and priority setting, being given lists of very understandable and totally accepted reasons as to why someone has no time to be there for you is sometimes even more painful than the initial loneliness – and not asking in the first place reduces the risk of that additional setback.
Yes, ‘fear of failure has killed more dreams than failure itself ever will‘, of course, and on stronger days we will reach out and sometimes, often, someone will show up in the moment… but on the darker days it can just be about getting through them, and being told ‘I can’t be there for you but feel hugged’ hurts more than it helps. Which shouldn’t stop us from writing it, of course, we know the intention comes from love.
What struck my nerve more than the article itself, which warmed my heart as it is always comforting to read that maybe I’m not the only one, was a comment that someone posted below which said something along the lines of ‘We need to practice more self love‘.
And this is something we keep hearing, heck, I say it! As a coach, I even make it a purpose to work with people to practice self love… yet something in that comment on that article on the day that is today enraged me. It just sounded like another one of those smug comments we get a lot when we open up to our own vulnerability.
‘Stop waiting for ‘other’ to feel complete, learn to love yourself and you’ll never be alone.’
YES! Yes to that, AND… sometimes, even those of us who have learned to bathe in self-love, all we really want is to be seen without having to show.
We all crave human connection, it is how we are built, we are social creatures who have been taught to be self-sufficient and to stand strong.
‘Be the badass, you can do it!’. YES, yes I can, and I need a hug.
Let us remember to acknowledge that human connection and touch is actually necessary for survival (one of many google finds on the topic: Eight reasons why we need human touch more than ever ).
Even the most self-loving and happy-go-lucky among us won’t survive on our own hugs alone.
Everybody is responsible for their own happiness and survival, for sure. And we each have our own homework to do on and for ourselves, I’ll always hold that belief.
And I know there is no way we can save everyone.
I think what I am suggesting is for us to be extra vigilant…
Just look for the unsaid in a text message. We know the people in our lives, we know what they struggle with, we know who struggles with loneliness… despite busy lives and own struggles, let’s be aware. Maybe give each other the luxury of being a priority. Maybe give each other the surprise of being there without having been reached out to.
Maybe we can make a tiny adjustment to our busy days to leave enough space and time to be there for each other, even, or especially, spontaneously.
After all, t’tis the season to be jolly and together.
Let’s be in it together!