Christmas Blues

Jingle jingle jingle, can you hear that jingling? … Um no, no I don’t.

Tis the season to be jolly. Well…not always.

This has been me as I approach this Christmas season. I am recovering from my recent mastectomy and just feeling a bit blue. Completely abnormal for me, I am the celebration, over the top, crossing off a list of Christmasy to-dos every single day of December. Not to mention, most every Christmas in my life I have traveled to a snowy destination.

But this year, I feel stuck. I start radiation next week and I am really struggling with my emotions, including getting into the Christmas spirit. Also, I feel like I am missing out. I don’t think I am alone in this holding pattern of life. Some are ashamed to admit their feelings, some are pretty forthright about it. I was in the middle, I wanted to recognize how I felt, but I didn’t like it… I wanted to snap out of that Scrooge-like state pronto.

Over the weekend, I went on a walk and tried getting a fresh perspective (amazing what fresh air can do for a mindset) … here is what I came up with:

  • Giving to others always helps cheers people up. My daughter and I went home and baked cookies (from the 12 days of cookies list from Food Network) together and passed them out to different friends of ours.
  • Volunteering and seeing others in need, helps snap most out of their situation. I may have cancer, but I am still alive, I am breathing, I have support, I am able to help others. There are many places in Austin to serve during December.
  • We decided to add a few new traditions to our family this year, since we cannot go out of town. Check out these ideas to add traditions to your Christmas. For what to do around Austin during Christmas, check out this list. 
  • Be a kid again. This can be a way to cheer up even the bluest snowflake in the bunch. It snowed the first week of December  and it brought out the kid in my husband and I. Despite our difficult year, seeing our daughters frolicking around in the SNOW in TEXAS was pretty marvelous.
  • We love going through an advent calendar like this with our girls, it helps take the focus off candy, presents and stuff…and instead readjusts our sights on what is really important this season…loving your neighbor as yourself and Jesus’ birth. 
  • The power of exertion- I started running again this week and it feels awesome. Whatever your favorite way to exercise is, get yourself out of your slump by doing that. I love running, it helps clear my head, get out the negative energy, and strengthen my body from all it has been through. Find a workout that works for you…Austin has a ton of options.
  • Toys for Kids- every year I walk around with my daughter and go through all our toys, clothes, books and choose some she feels other kids, who don’t have as much, would enjoy. It helps me spend quality time with my daughter, and teach her about giving back at an early age.
  • Eating healthy- it is amazing how food can be the route of all evil OR all good. Especially this time of year with more sugar, grains and processed food than usual. Much of your emotional state and physical state is from your diet. I have been wavering on being on the straight and narrow when it comes to my diet. I don’t know why I wrestled with it for so long (maybe because it is SO hard here), but finally it was just time. I committed to no grains, no sugar. And I feel healthier, cleaner, lighter, I know my body needs only goodness and I can’t afford “just one cookie” at every Christmas party this year. Or to eat loaves on loaves of cranberry bread (as my mouth waters). I have to put my health first, and so should you.
  • Christmas Date Night. I get this one from Miracle on 34th Street, or even Elf. I love the idea of a Christmas date…where you get out with your honeybee and enjoy the romance of Christmastime, the lights, the decorations, the Christmas tree. Doing last minute shopping, having a lovely dinner together, laughing, canoodling, ending the night with a hot toddy. This should help get anyone into the season.
  • Christmas Date Night In- just as much as I want a Christmas date night out, I also want a date night in. Order big bowls of pho for takeout, put on cozy jammies, put on the fire, pick a classic Christmas movie and snuggle up on the couch…then maybe spiked hot chocolate for dessert…this will surely spice up your winter blues.

For many this time of the year brings up grief from losing a loved one, or it is a reminder of another year to pass, and all that was left undone, or the grueling fight, like me, that some are battling. I read somewhere about a quote saying, “it is okay to laugh while traveling a difficult road.” And that is so true, just because you are facing grief, a challenging road, devastation, loss, doesn’t mean you cannot have a good moment. Then one day the moments will start to add up. Regardless of what your battle is, try to see the good during this Christmas season, seek joy, choose peace. Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Lauren Wiatrek is a native Austinite that after moving to New York and Colorado, decided her heart was in the center of Texas. Her husband, Evan helped build their family of daughters in a home they love. After battling stage 3 breast cancer in 2017 Lauren has become a strong voice for wellness, health advocacy, and her faith. Lauren loves to travel every chance she can get. Lauren enjoys extra hot coffee on the porch, her F45 workouts, Young Living lifestyle, being all things as a #girlmom and helping empower women. Lauren started her journey with cancer on her blog you can also follow her on her Instagram: @lauren.wiatrek for motherhood tips and her wellness journey after cancer.


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