Welcome to December! It’s the time for snow, and biting wind, wooly mittens and toasty fires. And the holiday season is creeping up as well. You know; that season that brings joy, warmth, and togetherness to many? As it turns out, December and its holidays are a pretty complex phenomenon. It is the one time of year where we are sure to encounter the two antagonists, celebration and chaos.

While the festive season is often associated with love, generosity, and family bonding, it also brings about stress, high societal expectations, and a whirlwind of activities that can lead to both physical and psychological burnout. Perhaps examining the duality of the dynamics that contribute to the celebration and the chaos will help us to find a path to balance.

The holidays are a time of tradition, of joy and of giving. Engaging in these activities can foster positive emotions like happiness, gratitude, and love. The act of gift-giving and spending quality time with loved ones has been linked to increased well-being and a sense of connection. These emotions, in turn, contribute to our overall mental health and often create a positive feedback loop throughout the season.

This couldn’t happen at a better time! These next few weeks represent the darkest days of the year. The lack of sunlight affects our body’s normal rhythms. There is a drop in our serotonin levels that may trigger feelings of depression. Fewer hours of sunlight also disrupt our body’s ability to produce melatonin. So, although we may feel tired, we tend not to sleep as well, and this affects our mood. In summary, these dark weeks, coupled with a deficiency of vitamin D, contribute to feelings of sadness and a general lack of motivation.

Is there a better way to counteract these depleting emotions than to plan a big party? Engaging in holiday rituals and traditions, whether religious or cultural, can provide a sense of continuity and stability. These activities offer a familiar framework for celebration that builds a sense of belonging and shared identity within families and even communities. From a psychological perspective these rituals can enhance a person’s sense of purpose and meaning, which contributes to a more fulfilling life.

The holidays can evoke nostalgic feelings associated with positive childhood memories. These memories tend to arrive with a sense of comfort and happiness. Nostalgia is a powerful force. It pulls up those deep feelings of love and belonging. These links to the past reinforce our sense of identity and where we fit in this world.

But beware! The line between celebration and chaos is very thin.

What if our memories are not so pretty? What if festive gatherings were tense affairs? These not-so-nostalgic-memories may bring back reminiscences of loud voices, disagreeable behaviour and deep disappointments. If this was your reality, my experience is that you will try even harder to meet cultural standards, whether through elaborate decorations, extravagant gifts, or hosting flawless gatherings. The failure to meet these impossible standards can contribute to a rebound effect that brings forth a rush of feelings of inadequacy and overwhelm.

It is necessary to point out that while the holidays are often portrayed as a time for family harmony, all of the various expectations associated with gatherings and requisite congeniality can exacerbate existing family tensions. Particularly in the scenario described above, the pressure to spend time together, coupled with the requirement of picture-perfect family gatherings, may simply bring to light all of the underlying conflicts and dynamics that we managed to avoid throughout the rest of the year.

Navigating family relationships particularly during the holiday season can be extremely challenging and, for many can lead to increased feelings of isolation or frustration.

In short, December is a very complicated time of year. We not only have to navigate through snow and ice but around feelings and differing expectations. Our families are those relationships that we experience longer than any other. This can be positive if we have worked through our differences or profoundly traumatizing if we have not.

If you are tired of this cycle of chaos and dream of one day doing things differently, I would like to invite you to join us in January at our next Achieve Your Vision for 2024 Goal Accelerator Program. We will examine our underlying emotions and how to change those patterns that are no longer serving us. We will discuss what your values are and then support you as you create a life that exemplifies your highest alignment.

Let’s begin right now: I invite you to go outside tonight. Stand in your yard and look up at the stars. The December sky is particularly beautiful. It is a deep inky black, dotted with twinkling stars and Orion is once again home from his celestial travels. Embrace the frigid temperatures and when your nose starts to turn red, go back inside and snuggle into your favourite chair and let this feeling guide you through the winter travails.

Remember you do not have to do this on your own! My focus on empowering women to skyrocket their results by achieving breakthroughs in their personal and professional life. If you are looking for a better way forward, please call or use the link below to book a 30-minute phone call with Simone Usselman-Tod, Stress Management and Mindset Breakthrough Coach, Certified NeuroChange and NLP Master Practitioner and Coach


Sending warm wishes of peace and plenty to you this holiday season.