Now that the first major holiday of the season—Thanksgiving—is over, we are getting ready for THE BIG ONE! So, which camp are you in? “This is my favorite time of the year and I can’t wait to get started,” or “How can I deal—again—with my family and all the same issues?” or “How can I possibly manage to get everything done without getting crazy stressed?”
For some people the holiday season is their absolutely favorite time of the year, as it means wrapping presents, decorating the tree, getting into the holiday spirit, and going to lots of parties and gatherings. But for others it brings about a sense of emptiness, loneliness, or sadness. It can mean spending time with relatives we aren’t fond of, trying to avoid the same family arguments, spending more money than we can afford to, and eating and drinking way too much and blowing our diets.
All of this is very understandable. This time of year taps into our core beliefs and values, bringing to the surface—once again—how we feel about our families and their dynamics, and it is oftentimes an unhappy reminder of what we don’t have—a significant other, children, parents who are still living, a job we love, enough money, etc.
Here’s the thing though: Like it or not, the holidays are here to stay. So how about some simple strategies for managing them with ease…
“Santa Claus had the right idea. Visit people once a year.” ~ Victor Borge
• Keep Your Expectations in Check We often have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like, and we are time and time again disappointed when they do not live up to those expectations. So how about trying to be realistic about what is possible? Level of expectation is a motto to live by.
• Stay Connected Don’t let yourself get pulled into only having time to work on tasks and tossing the rest of your life out the window. Be sure to leave time to stay connected with the people who make your life special, be it friends or family.
• Keep Your Regular Routine We all have daily routines because they work. And giving them up can lead to more stress. So whether its going to the gym, taking daily walks with a friend, writing in a gratitude journal, or enjoying a daily cup of joe at a local café, holding onto these routines will help keep you grounded.
• Just say “No” Give yourself permission to say no when you are asked to do things you can’t manage, don’t have time for, or just don’t want to do. After all, this is your holiday too!
• Think Moderation The holidays can be a time of overindulgence, whether its food, drink, or staying out way too late too many nights. While it is certainly fine to overindulge once in a while, too much can lead to feelings of guilt.
• It’s Okay to be Alone Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking minute surrounded by people. If you need alone time, be sure to make room for it. And if you dread being alone too much, how about volunteering at a local hospital, senior center, or other facility? Giving your time to others who really need it will not only help them but you too.
• Focus on Who You are Today When we spend time with our families, it is not unusual to revert back to our old family patterns. But this may not be something you are anxious to be a part of. So, when you see this happening, take a break—literally—and go for a walk or a drive. In other words, take a timeout. No need to show up as who you were when you were younger—you are not the same person. Seek out relatives who appreciate you for who you are today—not who you used to be—and spend time with them.
•Need Help? Just Ask Admit it. You have taken on way too much and promised more than you can handle. But there’s nothing wrong with asking someone to help you with wrapping presents, decorating the tree, or baking cookies. In fact, it could be lots of fun.
• And lastly…be good to yourself Remember, this is your time too. Take a few moments to figure out what it is that you want to do or what you need to feel good. How about that facial you have been meaning to get, or perhaps it’s a lovely bottle of champagne, or maybe its curling up with a good book and whiling away the hours.
“They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart.” ~ Paul M. Ell
And so, it is with a full heart that I wish you a beautiful holiday season and a most spectacular New Year!
Having trouble coping with the holidays? I’m here to help. Contact me at email@example.com and make a change…you des