Photo by Dakota Ross
The holidays are coming up fast and already people are feeling stressed and anxious! The funny thing is that many people feel stressed and anxious because they ultimately want to have and provide a great time for themselves and others. So to help you make this holiday season more joy filled and less stressful, I am going to share steps that you can take that will.
First let’s get clear on what some of the common holiday stressors are
- Perfectionism, wanting everything to be perfect
- Feeling pressured to be social when you don’t want to be social
- Feeling unsafe at family gatherings, worrying about possible abusive situations, fighting, bullying, controlling, negative energy
- People pleasing, putting other people’s happiness and matters before your own, results in resentment, judgments, burnout and overwhelm
- Scheduling the holiday “to do’s” into an already full life
- Not having enough money to create the holiday you’d like
Photo by Kris Atomic
Step 1: Plan For A Successful Holiday.
Decide what your holiday goals are.
What do you want your holiday to feel like mentally, physically & spiritually? Write it all out.
I want to feel ________, _________, __________, _______ during this holiday season .
(Examples: healthy, calm, fun, peaceful, joyful, meaningful, deep connection, spiritual, creative, abundant, magical, celebrative, happy, giving, loving, etc.)
What is important to you during these holiday seasons, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas etc. ?
Why do you celebrate these holidays?
What is important about them to you? (Connecting, nothing, memories, religious meanings, family get-togethers, getting, giving etc.)
What traditions are important to you? (Food, decorations, family gatherings, parties, giving, caroling, volunteering, crafting gifts, entertaining, religious ceremonies etc.)
How do you want to feel physically? (Healthy, strong, not over-indulge in food/drink, grounded, empowered etc.)
How do you want to feel emotionally? (At peace, excited, playful, grounded, free, childlike etc.)
How do you want to feel spiritually? (Connected, in wonder, grateful, loving, compassionate, peaceful, centered etc.)
What do you want your environment to be like around you? (Colorful, clear, clean, festive, quiet, peaceful, playful, entertaining, up-lifting etc.)
Step 2: Commit to Creating Your Plan for A Successful Holiday!
Now, take your answers from Step 1 and design a plan of action. What would have to happen for you to have those feelings during this holiday season?
What new traditions would you start? (Volunteer at a homeless kitchen and serve them a meal and wrap them presents, create a family run or join a cause as a family, make your gifts instead of buying them etc.)
What would you let go of? (Commercialism, doing everything yourself, being the host, going where you are not honored, doing for others what you can’t do for yourself yet, baking everything from scratch, traveling for hours etc.)
What do you want to keep and what do you want to let go of that was passed down from your family?
How will you take care of your mind, body and spirit during this time? (Daily meditations, drink lots of water, sleep, eat healthy, only do what is meaningful, don’t over-schedule etc.)
How will you create your desired feelings? Take the feelings you listed in Step 1 and make a commitment to honor them. Next, figure out an action plan to help you create and sustain those feelings for as long as possible.
Understand you will move in and out of feelings, but you can boost your awareness to choose feelings that up-lift you instead of letting your habitual unconscious negative feelings run your life.
Peaceful = I will take 5 minutes everyday to meditate and ground myself throughout the day.
Fun = I will invite friends over for pot luck, eggnog and caroling. I will attend only those events that feel fun to me. I will leave whatever isn’t fun. I will play happy music and dance for my own fun three days a week.
Creative = I will gift my family & friends with my words, painting, music, dance, video expression of how I SEE them (gifts, uniqueness, strengths…) and how grateful I am for them being in my life. I’ll decorate my house beautifully. I’ll bake wonderful goodies to share and delight in. I’ll craft ornaments with the children (big and small.)
Step 3: Stick to your Goals!
Most of the time we don’t get what we want because we either don’t know what it is we want or we don’t go after it until we reach it.
Commit to achieving your goal no matter what. Even when things go wrong or get challenging, solve the issue or course-correct and keep going until you are successful. Just like sailing a boat, you have to keep adjusting the sails to work with the currents and winds. You just can’t point the boat in the direction of your destination and do nothing else.
Just because something happens on the way to your happy fun and festive holidays, like an obnoxious relative, a bah-hum-bug shopper, a drunken messy office party, a stupid argument, not enough funds to do it up like the Jones’s, it doesn’t mean the goal/plan is off or that it’s a sign from Source that you’re not meant to continue. Get back to your plan of action to create the holiday of YOUR design.
When you do this you are building your self-trust muscle that you can handle what comes your way no matter what. With this action and awareness you start to program your brain that you are awake and responsible for choosing how you feel and respond. You’re not letting your old triggers run your stress responses anymore. You are growing to be resourceful, resilient and committed to yourself. You are teaching yourself to KNOW in your cells you are bigger than your problems and challenges. Commit to finding your solutions to get what you desire and feel successful.
IMPORTANT: Keep healthy boundaries. If you learn the above you will understand that you are not to solve other people’s problems. You can’t! You didn’t create them and you aren’t responsible for their stories. Stay away from other people’s challenges and just encourage them that they can handle them and transform them like you can for yourself.
Do your homework! This works!
And as a bonus:
To Your Magnificent Holiday!