Let’s be honest.
You have a love-hate relationship with the holiday season. You love-hate the partying, the abundance of food, the family time, the rush, the gifting, the music, the cheer, the lights, the traditions, the excessive consumption.
So you love-hate most things about it – except for the stress. You hate the stress.
I totally understand. I had a love-hate relationship with the holiday season myself – and it was more hate than love. It used to stress me out BIG TIME – so much so that by Christmas Day itself, I was almost out of good cheer. Sure, it was pretty complicated logistically – not surprising when your parents are divorced and you have to try to spend equal time with both parties. But that wasn’t all of it. Something just didn’t work for me. I continued to have this love-hate relationship with the holiday season until decades later – until I truly understood WHY. Why it bothered me so much when at its core was something I loved – sharing time with people I care about.
My ‘why’ was this. I found much of the holiday season inauthentic and forced. I also found that most of the original intention behind it – sharing time with loved ones – was lost. Lost in a fog of consumerism. And consumerism and inauthenticity go against my values.
Now I know this, the holiday season goes MUCH more smoothly for me. I avoid the bits I hate – I don’t play the consumerism game. I relish is the bits I love – I spend quality (i.e. unstressed) time with loved ones.
Here are my top tips for managing the holiday season.
- Get CLEAR on what you want from it. How much family time, how much partying, how much gifting, how much eating, how much tradition, etc.
- PLAN your time out so you spend it the way you want. If you don’t, you’ll end up spending your time the way others want you to spend it.
- Make sure you leave some ALONE time. You’ll need it to recharge yourself, even if you’re having a great time.
- Take a technology TIME OUT. Only check your messages, emails and social media a couple of times a day, turn OFF your phone and computer by 9 p.m. and don’t turn them on until after breakfast.
- Take FIVE when someone presses your button(s). Count to five and let it go – do NOT react, this only fuels the fire.
- Make PHYSICAL ACTIVITY a part of every day. Taking a 30-minute walk every day improves your mood – who can say no to that?
- Love MORE, fear LESS. Being grateful for what you have is a great way to foster love. Start a daily gratitude practice at the dinner table – get everyone to list three things they were grateful for that day.
This year, don’t use escapism – bingeing on food, drink, shopping, etc. – to distract you from the miserable time you’re having during the festive season. Take control of your feelings by being aware and preparing yourself throughly.
It will make your holiday season the best one yet.