How are you? We are in that time that busy time and it is supposed to be a wonderful time. But for many it comes with stress. It makes sense, there are pressures upon us from many directions and the holiday season seems to escalate our feelings and reactions to those pressures.
I was talking to someone in my family today and they were already predicting that they would not be enjoying Christmas this year, it was going to all about stress and not meet their expectations. It made me really sad. And I thought no doubt they are not alone in those thoughts, because there are so many similar threads in people, if this member of my family was feeling it others would be too.
It got me thinking about my own expectations of Christmas and what in my mind made Christmas a wonderful day and what I found disappointing in the past. I realised that all of my reactions positive and negative were completely within my control. Obvious right? But it is true, the day is what you make it. Sure you can’t control other people and the way they behave, you may only be able to spend within a certain budget or you may not be able to travel to be with the people you are missing the most. But it doesn’t have to mean that you have to react to those situations with a bad attitude. Easier said than done I know, but not impossible to work towards. Awareness has got to be step one.
So I thought I’d put together a few simple things that help me refocus and enjoy the moment. Things that help me really appreciate and enjoy the holidays the way they should be.
- Remember what the Holidays are about. They are not all about receiving, eating and consuming. Those may be enjoyable aspects of the day and it is completely fine to enjoy those aspects. However, don’t forget what you are celebrating or forget to appreciate those you are celebrating with!
- Set a realistic budget, figure out what you can actually afford to spend and stick to it. Don’t feel bad about what you can’t afford to buy for people, appreciate what you can afford. There are always people with less and the day should not be about the “stuff”.
- Don’t take on more than you can cope with, just because you can cook everything, wrap everything, host everything etc, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t be afraid to say no, to delegate or to ask for help. Stress is contagious, don’t spread it!
- Plan ahead and break things down into smaller, manageable tasks. This is something I am great at when it comes to work but terrible at in real life, especially when it comes to the Holidays. I have not started shopping yet. And every year I tell myself it would be so much easier if I had started this earlier and didn’t have to rush at the last minute.
- Continue to get regular exercise, sleep, and eat well when you can. Don’t stress about indulging though either, because life is too short to never cut loose.
- Take time out for yourself each day, to meditate, relax, refocus, or just get some sunshine. Whatever it is that you need to recharge. Don’t cut it out, you need that time even more when things get busy.
- Have no expectations of the day other than to enjoy and appreciate. Things rarely work out exactly the way you imagine. That is ok, infact it can be a wonderful thing.
- Have realistic expectations of your family and friends, don’t expect too much or more than you know they are capable of giving at that time. I don’t mean in a materialistic sense. I’m talking about those relationships with family members that are strained and that leave you wanting or dreaming of things being better or at least different. People make changes on their own in their own time. Accepting them for who they are and where they are at is the best you can do. They may have let you down in the past and maybe they will continue to do so, however, if you adjust your expectations and can empathise with their position (even if you don’t agree with it) then you can relax and enjoy.
- Stop and be grateful. We all have lots to be grateful for, so truly take the time to slow yourself down and your kids down. Focus on what you have in your life that is wonderful and fulfilling.
- Treat yourself and have fun!
I hope you are all having a wonderful time in the lead up to the Holidays and are able to take some time out to relax and enjoy! What are your tips for a stress-free holiday?