DURING the holiday season many people may find that there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the extra obligations that this time of year demands. One of our readers has asked about the best way to get through this time of year.
Well, I suppose the first observation would be in the words ‘get through!’ That phrase for some may even be synonymous with the word ‘endure.’ And sadly, there are those who may see the holiday season as a time to endure or get through.
The reasons for this may lie beyond all the extra activities. Perhaps there was the death of a loved one at this time, or maybe holidays of childhood years were fraught with sad memories or dysfunction.
If this is the case, you can create a new tradition or memory to replace the old. Make it something entirely different from what you usually do this time of year and that gives you a sense of joy – take a sleigh ride, learn to cook a new holiday recipe, visit a home for the elderly or disabled and share your recipe there, take a walk and every time you see a specific tree or colour, list something that makes you happy. By doing any one of these types of things, you are creating new memories and helping to replace unsettled or unhappy thoughts with new ones.
For those holiday obligations, determine the difference between those things which you are absolutely required to do and those things which you are expected to do – either by your own sense of duty or others’ expectations. Obviously, we do have obligations to fulfil, but many are unnecessary. I have friends who see no need to send out holiday cards each year and others who dutifully do so. If it gives you joy to do this, then certainly, go ahead. But do not do so, or any holiday task, just for the sake of fulfilling social obligation alone. No one will think less of you. When we take care of our own concerns, we are then better able to help others and do so with joy and fulfilment, rather than obligation or duty.
Be certain to take time out for yourself, and schedule it in just as if it were an important appointment – because it is! Even a fifteen minute break to relax, breathe deeply from your abdomen, and have a cup of tea, instead of rushing and pushing through hour after hour, this can greatly reduce stress of the season.
Know that you can be a source of joy and celebrate the good things in your life – know that this Christmas and holiday season can be a time to enjoy!
Don’t let a feeling of non-essential obligation to holiday duties bind you. Break free of routine thinking, and change your activities that allow you to be filled with joy, or at least, reduced stress. If you need assistance with ‘getting through’ the holidays, consider my emotional renewal program, or give me a call. I wish you and all those you love a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year!