How many times have you told your own children “Wait!” or “Settle Down!” or “Stop!”? In most cases, these instructions are given to protect us, or to teach us to think before we act.
May I suggest that right now, as you leave behind the season of Thanksgiving and before you plunge headfirst into the Christmas Holiday Season, that you say the same thing to yourself? Wait! Stop! Settle Down! Make time now to take a deep breath, protect yourself and think before you act.
For many, this can be a wonderful season of joy, filled with family, giving, and love. But often times outcomes are less than wonderful things like disappointment, debt, weight gain, exhaustion, and disconnection. How do you eliminate or minimize these outcomes? What can you do now to adapt your schedule, attitudes and commitments into a pattern that will bring you through this season without regret?
Here are a few ideas:
Stop to consider what your two most important priorities are during the holiday season. Then, as you schedule, plan, decorate, shop, eat, drink, entertain, select gifts, ask yourself, “Does this support and align with my top priorities for this holiday season, or does it sabotage them?”
Adapt and Be Flexible with Traditions
Do you have some die-hard traditions you have always followed during this season of the year? Is it appropriate to change them this year or to skip them all together? If you finally have lost 40 lbs after years of struggle, is it still a good idea to invest your time, money and effort in making 14 dozen of your grandmother’s sugar glazed Christmas cookies? Can a healthier option be substituted? If it does not make sense or your efforts are unappreciated, reconsider.
Lower your Expectations of Others and Events.
It is easy to get disappointed or let down during this “magical” season. The gift you want may not be affordable, Uncle Charlie is the same person he was last year and your young adult child may not come to his or her senses. Adopt a mental mantra that whatever the holidays bring, you will be thankful and content in all things, focused on doing your best to contribute in ways that build others up.
Take care of yourself.
The most effective strategy to be able to love others well is to first, love yourself with adequate sleep, a healthy diet and stress reducers such as exercise and meditation.
Happy Holidays to You and Yours!