I’m not talking about preparing for Christmas. So there. We’ve all heard enough, amiright? It’s in four days. Enough said. Well, okay, the only thing I’ll say about getting ready for Christmas is that I made an ornament. By accident. I was fooling around with some copper wire and this happened. My first, and probably last ornament ever. A partridge. Or maybe a French hen? Is it a calling bird? Man, that song has a lot of birds in it…whatever.
In fact, this post is about the aftereffects of Christmas. The post-holiday funk that can, and does, descend upon many of us. Not just us artists, but all of us. The period of delirium that begins in October and rushes through January is pretty spectacular. Planning, creating, obsessing, scheduling, rushing, procrastinating, then panic with a nice splash of chaos thrown in at the end…just because. It’s such a weird time of year. So much crammed into a relatively short time span. Frankly, it’s exhausting. Then, the big day comes, we have a blast, and….it’s over. You wake up after Christmas with an emotional hang-over that can sometimes be pretty crippling. Family disperses, wrapping paper, boxes and tinsel are thrown away and the tree suddenly looks a bit harsh and dried out in the morning light. What just happened?
I find that after the holidays I need a good 10 days to 2 weeks of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And that is just fine and dandy, thank you. No, I will not be firing up the torch and creating anything new. I won’t be in my studio at all. My brain at this point is equivalent to soft serve ice cream. Stick a fork in me, I’m DONE. If you need me I will be curled up on the couch with a book, or listening to the soundtrack from Inside LlewlynDavis (the best collection of music I have come across in a looooong time. Get it. Right now. Seriously). Or I may be visiting with my new best friend, Delilah, a baby bongo antelope we are hand rearing.
Don’t fret the non-existent afterglow of Christmas. Embrace it and use the time to recharge. Let somebody else cook dinner. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t want
to. Turn off the computer. Sleep in if you can (YES I KNOW I AM CRAZY
HERE). Most of all, don’t let anyone
make you feel bad for…well…feeling bad.
Not everyone fa-la-las happily forever.
For some of us, Christmas is WORK.
|Yes, I am utterly adorable. Deal with it.|
|Courtesy of craftfail.com|
There are no rules or sure-fire ways to make it through the holidays if they are difficult for you. You simply have to find what works for you and stick with it. I recently read a scientific study has proven that memories of unpleasant events are more firmly planted in our brains than happy memories. Thanks, Science, we really needed THAT. Anyway, what I try to do every year is make note, in some real way, of the wonderful things that do occur during the holidays. The thoughtful, unexpected gift/call/visit from a friend or loved one. The smell of the Christmas tree. The look on my cat’s face when he discovers said lit and decorated tree. The wonderful meals shared with friends, even if it's just a quick lunch on the fly. All this might sound trite or stupid, but that damned scientific report is right. We do remember with great ease (and stunning detail) all the uncomfortable or unpleasant things in our past and the good stuff just gets lost. So capture the good any way you can. I write it down and take lots of pictures of moments that make me smile. I make notes and stick them on my ‘fridge. Song lyrics that cheered me, quotes I’ve read, whatever, so I can see them over and over again and remember that it’s not all bad. And when that isn’t enough I plug my ears with noise cancelling headphones and crank up some really good music and maybe sit and cry for a bit. Defuse any way you can, and do not for one minute feel guilty about it.
There have been other scientific studies that prove creative people are often plagued with depression or depressive thoughts because we emote more. I guess that’s a clinical way to say we FEEL MORE. I suppose that’s true. The question is, what do you plan to do about it? I suggest owning it. Accept the feelings. Try not to keep things bottled up. As cliché as it sounds, writing down your thoughts does help. I don’t keep a journal or anything; I’m far too undisciplined for that. But, I do rant on my personal blog and write quite a bit for myself. Give it a try…it can’t hurt.
In the meantime, try to remain present. By that I mean try not to let the past become the only reference point for your well-being. Hang on to happy memories with a white-knuckle grip, but don’t obsess if the current situation pales in comparison. I often have to give myself a mental shake when I begin to slide into those “I wish Christmas was like it was when I was five” feelings. That is pointless. All you have is here and now. MAN, I AM GIVING AWAY CLICHES TWO FOR ONE TODAY!!! Lucky you…
Okay, I’m done. Grab
2014 by the--ahem--bells and run with it. There
is a fresh, New Year out there waiting for us.
Let’s do something SPECTACULAR with it, shall we? See you next year….
|Cake stencils? That's a real thing?|