I am as relaxed as I could possibly be. Ok, not exactly, but pretty close. I just finished doing yoga, took a hot shower and am currently sitting in my Pjs with my comfy socks on, sipping glow wine tea (almost as good as the real thing, ALMOST) and listening to Christmas music. I feel good! For the first time in a while.
And here are the main perpetrators of my relaxing evening.
Glow wine tea (took the picture super fast, because I didn't want it to cool off)
Cozy socks (paired with my lovely fuchsia PJs - I HATE fuchsia by the way :P)
And my most favorite Christmas album (only because it takes me way back to my childhood)
I'm not going to lie and say the last few days were a walk in the park, because they weren't. But I'm fighting and I am trying my best to climb out of this dark place I found myself in. I've identified the reason for my frustration, which has translated in me wanting to go back to my ED coping mechanism. It's because I feel a lack of direction in my life, a sense of purpose. I am not exactly where I am of my own free will, a series of circumstances forced me here. Some of them were within my control, others weren't. Suffice it to say I don't feel happy living here. I feel lonely and secluded. I was thinking about my birthday and I realized I have no one but my family to celebrate it with. I do love my family a lot, but I need friends too, people I can just let my hair down and relax with. Even my psychologist tells me this. But as much as I reach out to people, it seems I can't find anyone to “click” with.
I do realize that just moping about this situation isn't going to make it any better. So I've made plans to visit some friends living abroad for New Years. That way I have something to look forward to. I am also going to make a list of goals I want to accomplish, and then divide them into what I can and can't accomplish living here. The things I can accomplish I will strive for, with a vengeance. And the rest I will put on the shelf for later, but still look for ways to realize them.
Another thing I have been lacking this year is the Christmas Cheer. Every year I long to feel the same sense of excitement and wonder I did as a kid. You know, that warm fuzzy feeling that just makes you happy. There's no way to describe it, yet I believe everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. Usually I get at least a taste of it, a moment of happiness that I can cling to for the rest of the year. Even during the worst of my ED (last Christmas) there was Christmas Eve. But so far this year, the little spark is missing. I am (dare I say this out loud) dreading Christmas.
Let my explain why. Right now when I think about Christmas I'm not really thinking of a warm family affair, of feeling loved and “at home”. I'm thinking about the cooking, cleaning, stressful last minute shopping, relatives and all the gossip. To top it off I am feeling a little anxious about all the food involved. If it was just my family, it's a different story. But my relatives won't have the tact to not comment on my food, or constantly badger me about eating more. Actually a traditional Christmas here involves tasting 26 different dishes, and to me that's pretty intimidating. I remember actually eating so much I would make myself sick as a child, just trying to please everyone.
But I'm going of on a tangent here. The point of all this is that I realized why I was feeling so down. It's because I was thinking so much about MYSELF and the work I would have to do. Christmas is actually about giving and love. I firmly believe this.
This could partially be because of my upbringing. My parents are humanitarian aid workers and have been since I was born. We traveled from country to country, wherever they felt they could help the most. Usually us kids played at least small role in their work. Christmas was an especially “active” time for us. Almost all of my childhood memories of the holiday season involved performing or caroling for children in hospitals and orphanages, giving out donated presents for underprivileged children, or visiting old folks and letting them know that someone cared. As I grew up I still took part in these activities, although my role morphed into a more organizational one. But I was still always there to see the smiles on the children's faces, the gratefulness in the eyes of the parents who's dying child's life we had made a little better. These are things the money can never buy, and they bring a satisfaction that is unlike any other.
This was where most of my “Christmas cheer” came from. And I think I know why it's missing now. I'm so introspective at the moment I'm forgetting the whole meaning of Christmas. It sounds cliché but it my case it's true. So that is the first thing on my to-do list. This Christmas I will do some charity work. I'm already looking into what I can do, but nothing is decided yet. I'll let you know once I know for sure. But deep inside I know it's what I need to do to get my “Christmas spark” back. And to be honest I can't wait to get started.
Have you ever done charity work of any kind? If so, how does it affect you emotional well-being?