It is that time again. The holidays are coming. Our stress levels rise. We have to pack more into our already-busy days. The to-do list seems endless. There is shopping to do. There are packages to wrap and send, events to attend, decorating to do, dinners to make, and extra family needs—all calling for our attention, our time and our doing. Sometimes it gets to be crazy-town! Yet we know that somehow, someway, we have to make time for number one. We crave being able to enjoy the holidays and to not be run over by all that we have to do.
The self-help literature abounds—every checkout counter has magazines with information on how to avoid burnout, overload and stress during this special time of the year. After all, holiday time is meant to be wonderful! We read the articles. We know that to stop the chaos this year, we must:
Plan ahead, Keep a calendar–No surprises, Delegate responsibilities, Keep things simple–very simple, Exercise as much as we can, Stay positive, Fight the urge to spend indiscriminately, Watch those sweets, Minimize alcohol intake, Mind nutrition…get plenty of protein and veggies, Keep family dinner-times simple, and most important, Get as much sleep as possible!
If we can heed all this important advice, we’ll be well on our way to coping with the added stress of the holidays. But how can we actually connect with the deeper meaning of this holiday time, to enjoy it more fully, even within the midst of stress? Here are some considerations:
- Find some personal quiet time every day…carve it out…just for you. Breathe deeply while in this space. Focus on being grateful for the abundance that is already present in your life. Recognize that it is in the spaces between our busied activities wherein we find our balance…like the white space between the words, the rests between the notes of a musical score.
- Visualize what you want to have happen. Take the time to envision happier connections, friendships, smiles, meaningful family gatherings. Envision the way you want it to be. See yourself in those situations. Create (in your mind first) how you want future things to flow and your positive role in them.
- Set clear intentions for yourself…to stay calm, to go with the flow, to make this time special, to be aglow, to enjoy special moments, to ignore the negatives that may creep up in family patterns or with immature friends. (Be prepared to let the small things go).
- Trust yourself. Do not allow self-blame, or should-haves to seep in. Trust your decisions for planning, doing, connecting with others, and incorporating some me time. Recognize that you are doing the best you can given time and resources. Super woman does not exist. Trust yourself to know that when you suddenly experience higher tension, that you can Stop, you can Breathe. Recognize that there is another, calmer way to be; then consciously choose that calmer path. (Being frenzied is a choice; you can choose to be calm.)
- Get moving… physical movement is beckoning. Take a walk, breathe in deeply, even if it is just for a few minutes each day. That personal space is crucial; so is the invigorating value of that outdoor walk to your energy and your mindfulness.
- Incorporate a spiritual aspect to the holidays. Consider why this time of year is so important for you. Rekindle that inner spark, that inner knowing.
- Reach out in connection to others in need. Doing just one small deed or helping another in a small way is good for the heart connection of being in service to others. Deliver some cookies or flowers to a nursing home, put a pair of mittens on a mitten tree…giving is good. It is the small things that lift the spirit (not the expensive ones).
- Allow yourself to rekindle joy…personal joy. Carve out that important space by the fireplace, listen to uplifting music, invite deeper conversation with family or friends. See/soak in each important unfolding moment for the joy that it holds. Appreciate the special moments!
That is the real key…to slow down enough so that you consciously “appreciate the moments”…the moments that do matter!
Related ‘Appreciating the Moments’ Quotation: “Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” ~Alan Cohen
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