In some ways this is my favorite time of year. Christmas and all the associated stress has passed. But there is still another (less stressful) holiday yet to come – the celebration of the New Year. Therefore no one is really in the mood to get back into serious work mode – even if they happen to spend the week at work. I spent almost a decade consulting at various companies, and in all that time I didn’t encounter a single company where this inter-holiday week was anything other than “relaxed.”
Mind you I was personally very “un-relaxed” this time of year over the same time span. The Christmas holiday always brought melancholy, which was usually compounded by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During my depressed years SAD set in late November and passed around the middle of January, compounding my general and growing malaise with a perpetual physical weariness. On top of that I was beset with fear that my work achievements were never good enough, so if I relaxed over the holidays that would be the final straw (just for the record – this was pure paranoia. my work reviews over this entire period were invariably stellar).
But now that I am experiencing life with a calmer, healthier mind, this is a most excellent time of year. The kids have new toys to play with. The adults have food and drink; parties and cookie exchanging.
I took some extra days off this week, partially just to enjoy the free time. One of them was today. I spent it at the mall. Lunch with a good friend (sushi and ceviche – yum!). New purse. New earrings. A lot of ideas for outfits I’ll find at better prices elsewhere. Overall just a wonderfully low-key way to spend an afternoon. If this is what is meant by “peace on earth,” Hark me some Herald Angels! I’m a fan!
It’s hard to remember what this week felt like even a single year ago. Things had started getting better, for sure. But this ability to simply relax and enjoy a quiet, simple week was still completely foreign to me. The past year has brought me that much. One can only imagine what the next year may bring.
2010 has been a very good year for me. To those who read this blog, I hope your holiday season will be just as good… if not this year, then another one soon.