A peculiar reality many of us experience at different periods in our life, this time of the year can make us feel paralysed and despondent. A feeling state that can arrive at its own accord or be occasioned by our complex life circumstances, it is one that requires more care and concern to traverse, than we may be able to foresee. We’re sharing with you here our thoughts on what we hope can soften the pervasive form of holiday blues and extend to you support through its experience.
1.Listening to our mind and body
The experience of the holiday season can be different for all of us, such that we may or may not share comparable needs or emotions as someone else who may be going through it as well. When experiencing the difficulties that come with feeling low, we urge you to try to spend some time with yourself and ask two questions – ‘what’ am i feeling?, and ‘what’ do I feel I need or would like, in this moment? The former allows us to identify, understand and acknowledge our feelings, as well as to sit with ourselves in honesty about where we are at. We, at IKKIVI, like to engage in this process by journaling or writing in a notebook, as writing feels personalising and cathartic to us, and creates a semi visual lens to go back to. The latter is a step further in recognising what our feelings can tell, or are telling us about our needs, and thinking through and moving toward meeting them.
Do you feel that at this time, you need to slow down and rest?
Do you want to say no to doing certain things and yes to doing some others?
Do you feel called to move your body, or read about and explore a particular subject?
Do you feel you need to grieve, or that you are grieving?
Do you think you would like someone to help you understand and navigate through what you are experiencing?
Is there something you need to, or want to, express?
Do you feel you need to, or would like to, be alone or have someone be with you for some time?
We think that asking ourselves these questions can prompt us in taking steps in a way that regards our individual experience for what it is, and become a reflective and viable tool through such a period.
2.Letting Ourselves Be
We think it is as valuable to let ourselves take a breather, consciously let go of any perfectionistic ideals of performance we may hold, grieve, rest, go deeply into our pain, do nothing and let ourselves wholly feel as we are feeling, as it is to try to ‘do’ what we feel (or know) can bring us ease. And often in the midst of our experience, it is possible that we may be unable to identify or understand our feelings and needs with clarity, or even know what we want. Giving ourselves a break and leaving our experiences of pain undefined and unanalysed for some time can inspire us to slow down, let things fall apart (if they naturally are), positively surrender to the polarities of life, perceive the inexplicability and randomness of some events, be gentle with ourselves and watch life unfold in its own ways, without appending any mental meanings to them for the time.
3.Asking for help
A lot of times we are met with a feeling of hesitance or embarrassment when it comes to asking for help. But as initially discomforting as it can be, we think it’s important to ask for help, if we need it or would like another’s support. While our pain or past experiences can mistake us into believing that we would be burdening others or be rejected by them upon sharing our feelings, most often, our loved ones and friends will wholeheartedly want to be there for us in whatever ways they can and provide us comfort. At the same time, prolonged feelings of loneliness or melancholy may be a sign of depression. Meeting with a mental health professional who is committed to our well being and experienced with the many manifestations of depression can offer us insights, constructive inputs and resources that can help us work through our difficult feelings in a safe way when we find ourselves feeling persistently low, anxious or troubled. Leaning on others and letting them take care of us in a time of pain can open our hearts to new ways of doing things and ask fresh questions about what may be right and healthy for us to take up, as well as to leave. Going for talk therapy and counselling may also be a good step for any of us when we may be trying to get a little bit of guidance in working through our lives. We are hoping for this to be normalised and something that anybody feels comfortable and safe to opt for.
4.Cultivating a lifestyle suited to our values
Advertising, media, cultural norms, social practices, and idealistic systems can instill in us a feeling that we need to live by particular and pre-decided merits to be seen as a worthy, prosperous and useful member of society. We invite you to reflect on the values that align with and feel authentic to who you are, genuinely re-think if the desires you hold are yours or someone else’s, mindfully consume and question media content, create new traditions and routines for yourself, work at a pace that is harmonious with your natural energy and build an environment that nurtures your unique talents and desires. In our podcast Daily Routines to Inspire an Intentional Lifestyle, with artist and creative director Rhea Gupte, we further reimagine with her what building our own identity can look like, and how we can let go of things that don’t feel fulfilling, if you would like to listen to it.
NOTE: You can find here some worldwide and Indian mental health helplines, if you or someone you know may need some support.