Every year around this holiday season, I start to feel agitated and dissatisfied. I love Thanksgiving the most, and Christmas is pretty great, too, but as much as I enjoy the extra time with the girls, the family and food, all the socializing and seasonal delights, it throws me off every year. Old self-soothing techniques creep back in and because these quick fixes aren’t contributing to a more balanced version of Amanda, I’m often cranky along with agitated and dissatisfied. This trifecta of feelings has a way of exacerbating my need for self-medicating– an unpleasant cycle, indeed. For example, this week I’ve been staying up too late, eating from the package of weird super-market fudge Dave bought for a video project and watching mediocre Netflix movies starring hunky men.
The handsome men thing isn’t a typical seasonal symptom, but I also happen to have ovulation hormones coursing through me. Sometimes I’m more affected by this than others. If I’m fairly balanced, I can tell what time of the month it is, but it’s no big deal. Since balanced isn’t what we are dealing with, my face is breaking out, I’m under-slept (which brings a special edginess to my agitation), and my resolve to avoid caffeine and sweets isn’t really there. Plus, there’s this surprising pick-a-fight/flirtatious vibe when I’m buying my tea from the man-barista or chatting with the dude in line. Oh, and I’m crying every day.
As charming as all of this might sound, the part that gives me hope certainly isn’t my behavior or an idea that I’ve come so far. I can’t say that I’m proud of the awareness that year after year that this is a thing for me. But I will say, the biggest, most significant difference in this years seasonal funk is that I’m not all that worried about it. I don’t feel like I’m failing a good-person exam. I don’t dislike myself for struggling and suffering and I’m not as hooked in when I do feel cranky. I don’t feel like a fake yogini for having problems. If anything, I feel much more freedom to be in the muck and feel it and see it through. All of this stuff can come and go more freely. It feels decidedly temporary.
As best as I can tell, the confidence underneath this mood and this hormonal cloud comes from love. It’s a pretty fundamental thing that I was missing for a long time—loving myself and loving my life, however messy. So yes, I’m still dealing with this same seasonal moodiness, but it’s not my identity. it’s not who I am. And should I want to employ an aggressive anti-agitation agenda, years of yoga have given me some tried and tested tools for the job, but if I don’t work hard to conquer my seasonal fudge-indulgences and hormonal bad movie stint, I’ll still be okay, and I’ll still be able to find the love in there underneath it all.