“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
That’s a line from a classic tune that seems to be everywhere during this holiday season. For many folks, it truly is. They fully revel in this season and all of its celebrations. If that is the case for you, you may want to pass this essay on to someone who’s having the opposite experience.
Over the years I’ve realized that, for some, the season of lights is not so bright or enjoyable. It can be a very challenging time. The season may remind them of a loved one who has passed on. Or else the get-togethers with certain family members, plus the traveling, decorating, cooking, shopping and more cause the reason for the season to get lost in the shuffle. It turns out to be more stressful than enjoyable.
Yet there are some things we all can do to keep our mental and emotional balance, and remain centered and upbeat through the end of the year.
Focus more on being and less on doing
A key way to make the holiday season enjoyable is to focus on being rather than doing. One way to bolster this energy of being is to make a list of seven things you are grateful for in your life. Then every morning throughout the month, simply review them. You will notice that this simple activity will have a positive influence on your emotions. In fact, it is something you can do during the course of the year.
Slow it down
Life has its challenges. In addition, the collective angst the world is experiencing can induce a heightened sense of anxiety and chaos. When we find ourselves moving at an overly rapid pace, we can choose to stop and take a time-out by going into the silence for just three minutes. This will help us get back in balance.
Take advantage of the most powerful two-letter word
In the absolute, time is an illusion. However, we all fall under its tyranny. There are only so many hours in the day. So with all the extra commitments that come across our plate during the holidays, it’s OK to say no. It can be said diplomatically. Try: “Under most circumstances, I would love to help; unfortunately, I have a number of previously scheduled commitments. I’ll have to pass this time. However, I’d love to help out another time.”
Sometimes we have overly high expectations of what the holidays are supposed to be when we compare ourselves to others. Instead, we can set our own standards and stop being influenced by the advertisements we see. Relieve the pressure. Relax and make it fun.
Accept your feelings
To help take a load off and feel better about the holidays, give yourself permission to feel the way you do. It’s all right. There’s nothing wrong with you. Some folks are challenged by change, or the holidays simply are not their cup of tea. So we don’t beat ourselves up; that only makes it worse. Accept the way you feel. Let it be. Eventually, it lets you be.
Focus on yourself
If things seem to be overwhelming, take a break. Do something you really enjoy and, just for a while, drop everything else. Take a 30-minute walk, go to the park, read an engrossing book, work on next year’s plans, meditate or do whatever it takes to take your mind off the hustle and bustle of the holidays. And when you come back, you’ll have a fresh perspective.
Ask for support
You don’t have to do everything by your lonesome during the holiday season. You can ask for help from your partner, relatives or friends to shop, decorate, take out the trash, walk the dog, etc. No need to be a superhero. There are others in your orbit who will gladly support you.
If you find yourself having a challenging time, getting a bit stressed out or anxious this time of the year, know this too shall pass. In the meantime, there are many things we can do to help us successfully navigate the holiday season. The most important is to remember why the holidays exist in the first place. When we do, we realize it is the most wonderful time of the year.
Peace and Blessings,