People talk about stress in December. Random Facebook posts refer to the holidays as heavy or overwhelming.
I understand; I have felt this, too.
Our choices make it busy, stressful, and full of expectation. We pack in the parties, gift giving, to-do lists, and activities.
But I am wondering if we make it busy because of the emotion. The holidays tend to bring up a lot of feelings.
Sometimes they are emotions we don't want to feel, or a vulnerability that we don't want to experience.
Real emotion can be challenging, but it can be amazing and inspiring, too.
Emotions can be a natural guide to mental and physical health. They allow us to release what we don't need through crying or conversation. They help us pay attention to what is working and what isn't.
And they remind us to be compassionate and patient, especially with ourselves.
During the holidays I find myself more aware, vulnerable, and introspective.
I appreciate the people around me. I miss friends that I don't see very much and I miss people that have passed away.
I tear up when I really listen to the words of a Christmas song, I give hugs more frequently, and I notice the quiet of winter.
I feel deep gratitude, but I feel scared, too. I work on accepting what needs to be accepted.
I am beginning to view the holidays as an annual wake up call, an opportunity to really feel life.
I can't think of a better gift.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.