By now, many of us have been in Holiday Mode for several weeks. We work hard to create the Martha Stewart-esque atmosphere and party spreads, as well as the Norman Rockwell-esque family get-togethers.We play the “How Many Holiday Activities Can I Commit Myself to Before Imploding?” game.
For a lot of people, the Magic of the Season has slowly devolved into a never-ending list of extra tasks and obligations that leave us feeling depleted and longing for January 2nd.
Are you ready to stop the madness?
ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND ATTITUDE
We need to free ourselves from the unrealistic expectations of what we think we have to do this time of year and from our mind’s picture of what the holiday should look like. Be realistic about what you can accomplish with the limited time and energy that you have. Adopt a zen attitude this season.
Repeat after me…“it won’t be perfect, you won’t be able to do everything, and that’s o.k.”
REDUCE HOLIDAY OBLIGATIONS
Begin your holiday season by making a list all of the activities that conjure up that “magical feeling” and bring you true joy. Next, make a list of all of the holiday activities that you typically do. The activities that are on list #2 and NOT list #1 are what I call Holiday Obligations. How many of these obligations might you be able to eliminate this holiday season? Focus on the ones that really deplete your energy.
When you realize that there really is no mandatory list of activities that we MUST do, you begin to feel very liberated! Is putting up exterior lights the bane of your existence? Nix it off the list. Despise attending the neighborhood holiday party? Say “no thank you” this year. Overwhelmed by the thought of getting Christmas cards out? Send an e-card or forego them altogether.
The holiday obligation I chose to remove from my list was having a live 12-foot high Christmas tree in our home. I love the experience of going to the tree farm and enjoy the fresh pine smell in my home. BUT… I have come to dread the task of hauling it in and out of the house, securing it to the wall, making sure it’s straight, putting on 1000+lights, and blinging it out to perfection (and making sure it’s watered each day).
Not this year!!! After surveying my family members and learning that all but one of us doesn’t mind the idea of a 7-foot artificial tree and won’t be devastated about missing our annual trip to the tree farm, we made the executive decision to nix the live tree (poor Hubby went kicking and screaming, but he’ll get over it).
I took it a step further and handed over the responsibility of decorating it to my 2 kiddos (adopting my Zen attitude). Does it look as fabulous as when I single-handedly spent an entire day decorating it myself? Not quite. Am I o.k. with that? Heck yea! Time is a valuable commodity in my life these days and I saved so much time by letting the kids take charge. Of course, they enjoyed the freedom of choosing the ornaments and placing them wherever they wanted without Mom rearranging them.
In Part 2, we will continue to explore concrete steps you can take to reduce stress and enhance your enjoyment of the holiday season.
What holiday obligations would you be willing to let go of this year?