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34. Holiday Blues

Dec 12, 2023

Holidays and special days can bring up tender memories and can remind us of something we have lost, someone we have lost, and maybe something that isn't the way we thought it was going to be, or the way we expected it to be.

If you've got the holiday blues, I just want to let you know that it's okay. A lot of us have it. 

When you think of the Holidays, how do you feel? Do you feel excited? Joyful? Anticipation? Gratitude? Or do you feel grief? Dread? Too much to do? Rushed? Fearful? Anxious? Stress? Pressure?

These are all feelings that can come up this time of year, and I think it's important to recognize that there's going to be mixed emotions and it's okay if you aren't full of excitement, joy, and anticipation.

It's my hope that this episode will help you see that you're not alone, and you get to decide exactly how you want to experience the Holidays. 


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What You'll Learn From this Episode:

  • The impact of social media on amplifying the holiday blues.

  • The importance of gratitude as an antidote to comparison and disappointment.

  • How to create meaningful Holiday traditions that generate love, gratitude, and joy.

  • The power to define our Holiday experiences lies within each one of us.


Featured on the Episode:


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Listen to the Full Episode:



Full Episode Transcript:

📍You're listening to the Success Minded Woman with Deidrea Kiesling, episode 34, the holiday blues. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Deidrea, wife and mom to three teenagers, coffee snob, and certified life and business coach. If you're a high achieving goal-oriented woman and you know were meant for more, then you are a success minded woman, and you're in the right place. I'm here to help you make the money and the impact you've been dreaming of, to step into your confidence, create habits and systems to support you, ditch that imposter syndrome and harness the power of your mind. If you're ready to create a life and business you love, then let's go. I'm so glad you're here.

Hi, welcome back to the podcast, and this one's going to be a little different. Last week we talked about comparison and how you can compare yourself, your situation, your life, your circumstances, your achievements to someone or something else, and you can feel bad about yourself and your life. And when you focus on the differences, when you focus on what you don't have or how long something is taking you to achieve, when you compare yourself, oftentimes you can feel yucky, you can feel disappointed.

And what I also talked about in last week's episode is when you compare yourself, you can also focus on comparing yourself in a good way, in noticing what you're admiring in someone else or in something else, and looking at what is similar about them, about that situation, about that person, and how it's similar to you, to focus on similarity so that you can be grateful for what you have, appreciate what you have, and recognize and remind yourself that when you see something that you would love in someone else, something they've achieved, something that they have, some way of being, that they're in the world that you would love, when you focus on the similarities, it brings up the possibility because you wouldn't even recognize that in someone else and something else if there wasn't a possibility that you could have it too, because you can focus on the similarities.

So this week I was going to talk about inspiration, which I think can be the remedy for negative comparison, and that was my plan for today, but I wasn't feeling it today. What I'm feeling today and this week and this month and last week and the month before that and the month before that, on certain days, on certain times of the year, I feel sadness, disappointment, regret, grief and an overall sense that my life should be different than what it is, and that I wish I had appreciated more the things and the people along the way, really appreciating what I had when I had it, who I had with me in my life when they were alive, really being present to what I had, who I was being, being present in the moment, in the experience, in the days of celebration and remembrance.

But oftentimes I was comparing to what I wish I had, comparing to other people, comparing to what I thought or think it should have been, and all of that comparing and regret takes you away from the opposite of that, which can be hope, it can be love. So I think I'm doing this podcast as much for me or maybe more for me than for you, but here we go. I am recording this in November 2023, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, the holiday season. And as in most holidays, anniversary dates, birthdays, and other special dates in our lives, it brings up memories, the good ones, the bad ones, the sweet ones, precious ones, family trips, Christmas morning, and tender ones of who's not there, of what's missing. Holidays and special days can bring up these tender memories.

The hard days reminds us of something we have lost, someone we have lost, and maybe something that isn't the way you thought it was going to be, the way you expected it to be, the way you assumed it would be. It does a lot for me. I'm the only one left in my family that I grew up with. My mom, my dad, all four of my grandparents, and my sister have all passed away. So Christmas is different for me, the holiday season is different for me, and for my kids because they don't have their grandparents with them during the holidays like I did when I was growing up. The first Christmas after my mom died was hard, and part of the Christmas day, I literally had to go lay down, I physically couldn't hold my body up. So I rested, I grieved, and we also celebrated.

And when I am feeling down, when I'm feeling what I like to call the holiday blues, I remind myself to be present, to be here now with what I have, the people I have in my life, all the blessings that I have in my life, and focus on that, and not what I don't have, or not focusing on how it should be or how I think it should be, but focusing on how it is and deciding on how I want it to be. I like to say the holiday blues to name it, to notice it, to identify it, it reminds me that this is a phase, that this is just an experience that I'm having, and that to a certain extent I can decide how I want to experience the holidays and recognize that I've got the holiday blues, and that's okay. And the holiday blues, when I Googled it, it says, "High expectations, loneliness, and stress can lead to the holiday blues during the season from Thanksgiving to New Year's."

And so if you've got the holiday blues, I just want to remind you that it's okay, a lot of us have it. And some of that I think is because of the season of winter and how it's darker. There is some clinical seasonal depression that people can experience because it's just part of the season of darkness and the changes of the physical environment during this season. So when you think of the holidays, of it's December, of the season, how do you feel? Do you feel excited, joyful, favorite time of the year, anticipation, gratitude, or do you feel grief, dread, too much to do, rushed, fearful, anxious, stress, pressure? These are all feelings that we all have during this time of year. So I think it's important to recognize that there's going to be mixed emotions, and it's okay if you aren't full of excitement and joy and anticipation. For me right now when someone says the holidays, I overall say, "Ugh."

And that's just where I am in my life right now with the holiday blues. And I've just got a lot of things, situations, and circumstances that are hard right now in my life. And I can also do what I can with what I have right now to set my intentions and expectations for this holiday season. And that's really why I wanted to do this episode today, this podcast episode on the holiday blues, because I think it's important to recognize that part of the holidays. And with anything, there's the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, and so I think for all of us to recognize that it's not all thing or the other, I like to think about this concept of life is 50/50, it's 50% good and 50% negative, and oftentimes it can be a little bit more in one of those areas.

But overall, if you think about even throughout a day, there's going to be good parts and bad parts. So in this holiday season, if you've got the holiday blues, it's okay, that might be the 50% that's not great, or maybe it's more than that this year, and that's okay. Just think about all the movies... There's so many movies about stress and families fighting and just all the craziness of when a lot of people get together and have expectations about how things should be, and then along with expectations comes oftentimes disappointment. So I just wanted to remind all of us that the holiday blues are okay, and a lot of people have them. And so what I wanted to do today with this podcast is just give us all some tips, some encouragement during this holiday season.

So the first thing is to recognize that holiday blues are a real thing, and if you're feeling that way, it's okay, there's nothing wrong with you, it's part of the human condition, and you may be in a hard season of your life. And to embrace where you are, I like to say, "What can you do with what you have right now, with who you are being right now, this holiday season? You can really decide how you want to experience this and who you want to be and how you want to show up." And I think this is so hard these days with all the social media that shows all the bright, shiny, happy people, all the commercials with the cars with the big red bows and all the things, we see on social media these beautifully decorated homes with this Christmas aesthetic and just this idealistic impression of the holidays, but you and I both know that it's not always like that, and I just want to remind all of us that it's okay.

So my guilty pleasure, I guess, I do give myself this as a reward, and oftentimes I will only do this when I make myself walk on the treadmill, is TikTok. I love TikTok. I just love just escaping and just looking at other things, and actually I do a lot of things that come across my TikTok feed are about personal development and personal growth, but also a lot about books and family life, mom life. You go down these different roads of TikTok areas. So different things come through my feed about mental health and family and parenting and business and spirituality, and I think that's one of the things I like about TikTok, because you automatically curate your feed just by what you're focusing on and what you like and comment on, and then it brings you more of that.

And then what I like to do is I can see if the theme of what's showing up on TikTok for me is starting to change, then I know that I've done something to cause that. I've liked a lot of things with that theme, I've commented on things, I've clicked and go to look at other things around that same theme, and so then TikTok thinks, yeah, that's what she's into, that's what she wants to see more of. And then I might notice I don't really want to look at this, this isn't really the area of focus that I want to be putting my time and energy and attention on, and then I'll like things less and comment on things less of what I don't want, and then all of a sudden my feed is different. It's curated back to what feels good to me, what I like, what inspires me, what I'm learning from, what I'm growing from.

And I think that's so important, that concept of curating our feed. And really, if you take the broader view of that social media feed and just you can look at that as the lens of your life and what you're feeding it, and based on what you're putting your energy on, your attention on, because that's what's coming back to you. So one of the things that I love that just made me feel good where I found this mom, I call her the normal mom on TikTok, and her whole TikTok is about being a normal mom, being the non-aesthetic house and way of life. And she will walk around her house and she'll show these clothes on the floor, dirt on the countertop, cereal boxes all on top of the refrigerator, and old countertops, and just this non-aesthetic, the appliances don't match or they're outdated, and she just normalizes and creates an alternative aesthetic from this gorgeous, beautiful magazine like image of houses and family life.

And so I like things like that that remind me it's not just this curated beautiful aesthetic, it's more like real life. And I follow a mom that focuses a lot on parenting and being a mom with... She has ADHD and I think maybe autism, but she focuses a lot on functioning and how functioning for her is at a different level and how she does a lot of things to make her life easier because a lot of the time it's hard for her to do daily life. And so things like that are just reminding me, and I hope for you that in saying this or in what you're paying attention to on your social media feed, is that there is another side besides the bright, shiny, happy people and beautiful decorated homes and all of that, there is a normal way of life, of course, the real life that we all have.

And so I just wanted to remind all of us that our life doesn't have to look like that pleasing aesthetic that we see in movies or on social media. When you are comparing yourself around Christmas time or really anytime a holiday or event, and you feel lack in a tender spot for something or someone that's missing, something that didn't work out the way you wanted or expected, it's okay. And it's okay that it's not okay that you wish it was different or better. It's okay to feel those feelings of grief, of loss, or disappointment. It's okay. But I think the key is to not stay there. You can notice when you're feeling that way, you can name it, you can name it grief, you can name it holiday blues, you can name it disappointment. Once you give it a name, you can feel the emotions that go with that and you don't have to stay there. You can feel the feelings, you can go through the feelings, and then you can move your attention to focus on what you do have, what you can do with what you have right now this holiday season.

And I believe that gratitude is always an antidote or a remedy for comparison and disappointment and the holiday blues. And sometimes for me, with grief and loss and sadness and disappointment, which I often feel during the holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, it reminds me of loss, of grief, of things that I don't have anymore, or things that are different now. And what I've learned from noticing these feelings, especially over the last couple of years, is to really be present and grateful for what I have right now. Because a lot of what I find, what I'm noticing is that part of what I feel sad about, I don't think I'm going to be able to say this right, is that I wasn't fully present and experiencing and being grateful for what I had when I was experiencing it, when I was with the people that have passed away, or just those moments where I wish that I had been more present.

I can't think back and think about certain moments where I was really connected to being present and enjoying the moment, but I can also look back and think of a lot of times when on the outside it looked like happy holidays and kids opening presents and fireplace on and family gathered around. And if you took a picture of it, it would be like a picture on Facebook of a happy family and happy Christmas, but inside I was so stressed, I was so anxious, I wasn't really present for what was there and what I had because on the inside I was feeling so much stress and anxiety and depression, and so my insides and my outsides didn't match. And I think that's one of the areas of the holiday blues, because there's this expectation of happiness, of joy, of celebration, and maybe our insides, maybe your inside doesn't match that. And that's what I really wanted to normalize if you've got the holiday blues, that is also normal.

So I guess I want to normalize that and give voice to that and give some alternate images that you can go to during this holiday season. So you can always go to gratitude and appreciation for what you do have. And if it feels really hard, you can always just get into the present moment, into your breath, and just being present to right now, right here, this moment. And when you're really feeling that and getting into gratitude and love and appreciation, you are not in that exact moment feeling the holiday blues because you can't feel two feelings at the exact same time, you can't think two thoughts at the same time. And so this practice of noticing and naming your thoughts and feelings can help you break that attachment to the holiday blues and then going down the trail of negative thoughts and disappointing thoughts, and just that trail of believing and thinking about that just makes you feel yucky.

So you can notice what you're feeling and you can name it. You can call it the holiday blues, you can call it I'm feeling stressed, I'm feeling anxious, whatever it is, but noticing it and naming it, start separating, put some distance between you and that feeling. And with that distance, with that separation is when you can start putting in new thoughts and feelings that will help you feel better. So notice how you're feeling. You can ask yourself, "What am I thinking? What am I feeling?" And for me, and I think for a lot of us during especially these holiday season or any sort of special day, what part me of what I'm noticing am I comparing? Am I comparing myself, my life with someone or something that I want more of or less of that I wish was different? And just by noticing that you're in that compare that's making you feel bad, that compare and despair, there's a quote that says comparison is the thief of joy.

And just noticing and naming when you're feeling that way, that is stealing your joy, but the good news is that you can claim your joy. So you can notice it, you can name it, and then you can decide how you want to think and feel the story that you want to tell about this, and you can ask yourself, "Can I change this situation? Can I change this circumstance? Can I change this condition? What parts of it can I change? And what parts of it can I accept and just experience it differently?" And then you get into action, get into action and do things that make you feel good, create things that you want to experience, and know that you can always change your thoughts and your feelings to get into some action to create an experience that you want to have.

So for me, thinking about I really want my house to be decorated, but I don't feel like doing it, but I know I will appreciate it when it's done, and it's important for me to create that environment for my kids, and so I do it anyways, but I do it differently now. I do it slower. We don't necessarily do it all together right now because our kids are at different places and it's just different right now, and so just accepting that it's okay and things look different. I think that's one of the big things with the holiday blues is that oftentimes it's because we're comparing ourself, our life not only to other people, but to ourselves and maybe to our past, but just part of the holiday blues is just to take back your power of what you can do, what you can create, what you can think and feel, that it really is up to you. And there's this concept of resistance, so what you resist persists.

And what that means is what you're resisting against, and when you're resisting, it's you're complaining, you're blaming, you're comparing, it's some version of resisting what is. And so to overcome resistance, because remember, it will persist until you release it, you want to allow it, so allow the emotion to pass through you, allow whatever you're pushing against, release your grip on it. And once you allow it and you let it pass through you, that's where you can create an opening for love, for peace, for joy. Byron Katie has a book called Loving What Is, and really the premise of what she's saying in this book is that loving what is is the present moment, is whatever is happening right here, right now, and not trying to change it. She talks about in that book that she had a spiritual awakening when she realized that her thoughts were causing her suffering, and she realized when she thought a certain thought she suffered. And when she let go of that thought, she felt peace.

I love that book, I'll do a whole book report on that at a later time, but the main thing in relation to the holiday blues is really to accept the way things are and love what is. And she has this quote that I absolutely love. She says, "I realize that it's insane to oppose it." This is the quote, "When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100% of the time. How do I know that the wind should blow? It's blowing." And so that idea of loving what is is really about being present here and now with your life right now, loving it as it is, because that you're not resisting it, you're allowing it, and right here, right now is really all you have, and you can decide how you want to experience it, but first you have to recognize it. And that's why I like just giving it a name like the holiday blues, because you're in some form of resisting of how it is, because of how you think it should be.

So I'm reminding you and me and all of us, the real meaning of this holiday season in so many traditions around the world, it's a time of bringing light. We are getting closer to the darkest day of the year, and things can be darkest before the dawn. It's a time of love and gratitude, connection and joy. I love this quote by Emerson, and he says, "When things get darkest, then you can see the stars, but only if you remember to look up." So remind yourself that it's a time of love and gratitude and connection and joy, and you can always find joy, you can always find gratitude and connection any time because you're here, you're alive, and everything is going to be okay.

And it's okay if you're not feeling like it's okay right now, because life is 50/50, there's going to be good emotions, you're going to experience good feelings, good outcomes, you're going to just have some good parts, and you're going to have some bad parts. And it's the contrast of the good and the bad, of happy and sad, of longing and discontent, all the contrast is really what makes this beautiful life. And so one of the things that I really love about Christmas, and I remind myself of this, and honestly, this concept takes me all out of the rush and the Christmas pressure and the busyness and the blah, blah, all the things to do, this gets me, reminds me of what this season is really about. And it's the Christian concept of Advent. In the Christian tradition, it is the preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth and the hope and promise that his birth brought to the Christian people. And I think this idea of Advent can be applied whether you're Christian or not, because I think we can all embrace a more general idea around the Advent season.

The Advent season is calm, it's inward, it's connection. And so when I think about Advent, it just brings me right down to the real feeling and meaning of the season, which is about reflecting on how we can prepare our hearts and our homes for what is coming, for being together, for celebrating in some way, for just acknowledging the year that we've had, the year that you've experienced, and the new year, the new season, the possibility of hope and peace and love and dreams achieved that's coming in the new year, imagining and creating what you would love to be and to do and to have in the new year and also with where you are right now, you can prepare your heart and your home for this holiday season. And in celebrating what we have right now, connecting with our friends and family and having traditions, whatever those may be, and connecting with however you do, with whatever friends and family you do have, because you can create that, you have the power to do that.

And if you are alone this holiday season, you can reach out, you can ask for what you want. If you are alone and don't have anyone to celebrate with, tell someone, tell someone how you're feeling and what you're longing for, and I guarantee you, someone will invite you over because that helps them celebrate, that helps them enjoy their life, being generous. It's reciprocal, the giving and the receiving, so don't wallow if you are feeling sad and alone, there is hope, and you can create that hope and you can take action from that area of possibility and hope. So reach out to someone. If you're really deep in the holiday blues, if you're feeling alone, reach out to someone. And I want you to know that I'm here. If you ever need to reach out to someone, I am here for you.

So you can email me, you can message me on Facebook, but I just want you to know that you're not alone. I'm here for you. And I know that you have people in your life that are there for you, and I know that you're there for other people. So that's what I love about the concept of Advent, it's like calming down and getting centered around the real deeper meaning and purpose of this holiday season. So in celebrating where we are right now in this holiday season, a lot of times it's around traditions and memories of how we think things should be or how they were. So family traditions is a big one. And I just remembered something about these family traditions and carrying on the traditions. I was reminded recently of one of the family traditions. So we have in my family that I grew up, we have a lot of traditions around food, what we're eating and who's cooking it, and the spices that we put in it.

My mama used to always use this season called Allspice, and she just put it in everything. And so when we put it in there, it helps us remember her, so little traditions, but one of the things that I was reminded of recently is that you can create your own traditions. You can make your own traditions anytime you want. You can just claim it and do it and just say, "This is a new tradition that we're starting." And it reminded me of my dad, I was a teenager, I think it was in high school, and he just announced one day that we are starting a new family tradition, and on Christmas we're going to have tenderloin. And up until that point, I think we'd always had Turkey like Thanksgiving. He said, "No, we're going to start doing tenderloin."

And every year since then, on Christmas, we have tenderloin, we have this special horseradish stuff that we have with it, we have potatoes, we have rolls. So it's this new tradition that he just claimed and we just all started doing, and now everyone in my family, we have tenderloin on Christmas. So my point of saying that is that you can create a new tradition whenever you want and you can drop the traditions that you don't want to have anymore. And so what I'm saying here is that you can decide and you have the power to create the experience that you want to have, to create the traditions that you want to have and bring forth, and drop the ones that you don't like or you've lost the meaning of, you can just drop those. And the other thing is that you can totally do things in a different way. Another memory I had was two Christmases.

So one, I remember my mom and dad just saying to me and my sister, "Okay, we are thinking about doing something totally different for Christmas. We're thinking about going to New York." And my sister and I were crazy excited about the possibility of going to New York City for Christmas. And we went and we spent a week there, and we saw a Broadway show at least once a day, I skated in Rockefeller Center, we ate at Tavern On the Green. We did every Christmas tradition that you see in a Christmas movie of being in New York for Christmas. We went after Christmas shopping to Saks Fifth Avenue to Macy's. We just did this whole Christmas in New York, and it was such a special holiday and such a special memory. I remember so much of that. Every day I have so many memories of what we did, that, oh, we went and saw... Listen to this. We saw the New York City Ballet, The Nutcracker, on Christmas Eve.

And for those of you who don't know the story of The Nutcracker, it takes place on Christmas Eve and it goes into Christmas morning, and we actually were there the night of Christmas Eve. Oh, and then we went to this Christmas mass. Oh my gosh, I forgot where. But one of the big famous churches we went to Christmas mass, and they had all the music. And anyway, I'm rambling, but the point is that my parents just decided to do this trip and to create this new memory and experience for our family. And then another time my family, my mom and dad decided another Christmas, maybe a few years later, that we were going to go to Disney World. And so we went during Christmas to Disney World. Now, this was a long time ago before Disney World was so crazy crowded, so it wasn't that crowded. And, again, it was just a very special fun time that me and my sister had with my mom and dad.

It was many, many, many years later that I found out from my mom that the reason that we did those trips was because she was fighting with her parents, my grandparents, and she didn't want to have Christmas with them. And now I know from more of things that I learned and talked with my mom over the later years of her life, that she would share with me more about the pain, some pain that she had with her parents, and that it was hard for her to speak up. And this was such an act of courage and bravery and independence and setting boundaries when she decided to do these family trips, to break the tradition of everyone being together for Christmas. So the point of me sharing all of that, again, is that you get to decide how you want to experience this, what memories you want to create, where you even want to be, you get to decide all of that. You can create new traditions, you can create new experiences for you and your family.

So this year, if you've got the holiday blues, take care of yourself, be kind and gentle with yourself, slow down, let go of the traditions that feel heavy or have too many bad memories, do less, lower your expectations of what it should be, of what you should be doing, how it should be, and then decide on purpose how you can intentionally create and celebrate with what you do have, with who you do have, with what you do have right here, right now. And you can create new memories, new traditions, you get a do-over. And it all starts with gratitude and love for what you have, for who you have in your life, and being grateful for yourself and being intentional with how you want to celebrate this holiday season. So as I wrap this up, this extremely rambling episode, in this season I want to remind you of the Advent, and each week of Advent there's you light a candle, and each week the candle symbolizes week one is hope, week two is peace, week three is joy, and week four is love.

And so that is my holiday wish and greeting for all of you. I wish you hope, I send you peace, I wish you joy, I send you love. Happy holidays, and I'll talk to you next week. I have a special invitation for you. Join me at the Growth Summit on January 26, 2024. This is an all-day event where you will connect with other women. We will spend a full day nurturing and loving on you while giving you tools to create wild success in 2024. I am excited and honored to be a featured speaker, and I would love to see you there. This isn't just a regular old business conference. We are after the heart of women and we want to reach you on a soul level and have you walk out feeling uplifted, encouraged, equipped to joyfully face your new year, and we will help you fully embrace your value so you can dream big, have flourishing relationships, and lead an abundant life of impact. When you leave the Growth Summit, your heart will feel like it has been wrapped up in a big warm hug.

So give yourself this day to pause, be treasured, to pour into, and equipped to thrive in your new year. So go to and use your special discount code that I have for you, and get $30 off with the code VISION, all capital letters, V-I-S-I-O-N. So go ahead and sign up, use your discount code, and there's also a payment plan available. We don't want anyone to miss out on this. So the regular price is $229, but you get a $30 discount with the code, and there's also a payment plan available.

And if you would love more hands-on support and actionable plan to implement what you've learned, then connect with us on the second day, which is an in-person, intimate group of women where we will really go deep on what we've learned in the Growth Summit. I would love to see you there. Thanks for joining me this week on the Success Minded Woman podcast. If you like what you heard on the podcast and you want to know more, then head on over to where you can sign up for my weekly success and mindset tips to help you create your dream come true life. Talk to y'all next week. Bye.


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