A link to Joanna Doane Ottavio's profile on Psychology Today, where she is verified as a fully licensed therapist in the state of Arizona.
A link to Joanna Doane Ottavio's profile on Online Counselling Directory, where she is verified as a licensed therapist providing online counseling in the state of Arizona.
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Day 2: Defining Your Own Meaning

Welcome to day 2 of my holiday series, Twelve Days of Self-Care. I realize it's a little late, but that's fine, because it kind of goes along with the Day 2 Topic, which is about defining your own meaning for the holiday season, then acting accordingly. Fortunately, for me, my holiday season has become about resting in preparation for the new year while processing what I've learned and accomplished over the last year. It's about being grateful for what I have. So keeping up on these blogs naturally took a back seat, and that's okay.

For so many people the holidays seem to be about guilt and shame. People end up feeling ashamed for the things they don't have and guilty about not adding up to preconceived notions of what is "normal" this time of year. This holiday, for instance, thousands will buy (literally, buy) into the notion that the holidays are about rushing around, buying gifts, and spending time with people who they actually dread being around. In turn, they guilt themselves into spending money they don't have. They spend Black Friday lined up in snowy parking lots for holiday deals during which they fight over meaningless merchandise, and argue with exhausted cashiers over coupon codes.

Ultimately, individuals engage in such adrenaline-inducing hate-buying because they often can not stand the thought of their children, significant other, parent, etc. ending up disappointed with the gifts they receive. So is the holiday season really not so much about giving, but rather more about not disappointing your children, friends, and family? Can your value as a human being be measured by the sum of gifts under your tree? Is a child receiving all the gifts on their list to Santa really symbolic of how "good" they have been over the past year? What in the world are we doing to ourselves?

Take Back Your Holiday

Take your holiday back! In practical terms, take 3-5 minutes thinking about what meaning you really give to your holiday season? Do you find yourself stressed out, anxious, or depressed? Now, compare your current meaning with what meaning you want this season to have for you. Then, simply yourself what actions you need to change in order for you to live in alignment with the meaning you want this season to have. To give a personal example, this Thanksgiving I ordered my holiday meal because I realized spending three days in preparation for a big meal was not in alignment with the rest and reflection I actually needed to be engaging in. Similarly, these blogs I've planned might not end up on schedule. And that is okay.

Really, I want this series to provide practical techniques that apply not just to this season, but for seasons to come. So, as long as all the links are there by New Years Day, I'm good. I'm not letting the 2019 holiday season stress me out, friends. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it. I encourage you to do the same.

Warm Regards,