Changing Your Focus During The Holiday Season
We look forward to this time of year pretty much as soon as it’s over! It’s that time of the year where everyone is filled with joy and the spirit of giving. But, the Holiday Season can be stressful! Here’s the thing, like most of our stress it is self-inflicted. Why not let go of the fuss and stress and enjoy it for what it is? Enjoy the simplicity of just being with the one’s we love.
This blog is about looking for ways to focus more on what matters and less on all the ‘stuff’. By that I mean anything that cause us unnecessary stress at this otherwise magical time of year. So, let’s go!
What Not to Focus on:
Making Too Much Food
This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, we just don’t need as much as we make, do we? I get where it’s coming from, we want to feel abundant at Christmas time. We want to feel overwhelmed by ‘enoughness’! Enough food, enough gifts, enough love etc. etc. But, too much food is unhealthy, hard work and wasteful.
I am not going to try and guilt-trip you here because I don’t think that is fair. What I want is for us to think about how much we need so that we can avoid the guilt that comes with throwing away perfectly good food. This year, work on making just the right amount. This saves you time, money and that awful guilty feeling you get when you throw away that delicious food you spent hours making.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. We want to show our love through gifts, and that’s a beautiful thing. What we have to be careful of here is a) not to spend money we don’t have and b) not to buy bottom drawer fillers for the sake of bulking up the gifts. I have definitely been guilty of this one! It’s easier now that the kids are getting bigger but I know how easy it is to just buy that ‘one more thing’ to make them smile.
We want to see their faces light up with joy! What we have to be careful of, though, is the junk purchases that they pretty much toss aside as soon as they’ve opened them. And for what? My solution is, if you want to buy small stocking-fillers make them useful ones that will last. Try a new set of pencils or pretty hairclips. This way at least they don’t add to the landfill within a week.
Trying to ‘Get it all Right’
We don’t have to be perfect. The meals don’t have to be, the gifts don’t have to be, and our behaviour doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. Lighten up a little and don’t overthink the seasoning on the roast potatoes or the shade of blue in the shirt you bought for your Dad. Believe it or not these small, totally unimportant things are going to give you unnecessary stress if you let them.
So, remember what this time of year is all about. If you must worry, worry about getting just the right amount of cuddles from those family members you only see on special occasions, or letting the disagreement on which side dish goes best go because it’s just not that important. Remember, these moments are fleeting. Focus on the one’s you will keep in your heart forever and simply let the rest go.
What To Focus On:
Self-Care Amidst the Chaos
This is your long-awaited holiday! Don’t burn yourself out when you’re meant to be relaxing. I cannot stress this enough. Make time for yourself this Christmas. Even if it’s a walk on the beach. Being on form all the time with having to entertain family, cook meals etc. can really take its toll on you. If you learn to recognize when you need some quiet time to re-energize you will be able to enjoy your time with the family more.
So, go ahead and call out for someone to bring you a drink for a change! Bake those delicious cookies, by all means, as long as it’s still filling your cup. And, when you’ve had enough, leave the decorating to the kids. Learn to recognize when you’ve reached your limit. There’s nothing worse than spending the holiday season in a funk because you took on just one more task instead of asking for help.
Taking Time to Remember
Take a moment to think about those less fortunate than you this year. When you feel like complaining about the personality clashes during the holiday season, remember not everyone has family to spend Christmas with. Maybe they are no longer with them. Maybe they live far away. Whatever the circumstance, remember some people would be happy for the interaction. If you know anyone in this position, give them a call at Christmas time.
Remember, also, the people who aren’t able to celebrate with gifts and lavish meals. Do your part by contributing to charities during the holidays. Donations, time, whatever you can. It all helps and what seems small to you may be a really big thing for someone else.
We spend most of our waking days at work. Sad, really. So, we really, really look forward to our holidays. With our families. But, then we go and overbook our calendars and overdo the ‘relaxing’ by booking in activity after activity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good road trip, but don’t forget the actual down time. The time together. The board games and splashing in the pool.
Being mindful of your time together is the best way to save those memories to the memory banks. Playing charades on Christmas Day or singing Christmas carols. Maybe you have a family tradition of cutting down a tree together or decorating the tree. It’s easy to forget it, but these are the moments that we cherish. Most of the Christmas gifts will be forgotten, but these moments last a lifetime.
Reflect on Your Year – Show Gratitude
While you’re popping the champagne and tugging on the Christmas Crackers don’t forget to reflect on your blessings from the past year. This season of joy and abundance is the perfect time to show some gratitude for your life. With another year of ups and downs under our belt many people are ready to say goodbye to 2021, but before you do make sure you acknowledge your blessings.
This will look different for everyone. It could look like gratitude for your health, the support of your family, a steady job or reaching a goal. Sometimes our gratitude can come from going through hard times that made us stronger. Even the toughest year has something you can be grateful for.
Let go of Expectations
Christmas and the holiday season in general is famous for being over in the blink of an eye. There is so much hype around this season and we hate to see it end. Try relaxing about Christmas this year. Don’t overthink it or overcomplicate it. Let go of your expectations for the: table decorations, food, gifts, visitors. Just focus on the time with your family and enjoy it for the simplicity of time together.
Remember. At the end of the day we are celebrating life! So, focus on that. Celebrate life and family. It is, after all, the most important thing! Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Christmas!
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