Most of our stress during the holidays is because of what we are thinking: our expectations, our perfectionism, our fear of disappointing.
What do you expect from the holidays? How do you expect them to go?
Often expectations show up as either expecting the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas or we expect disaster and stress.
What if we focused on the holiday joys – the music, the scent of pine, candlelight? Whatever moves you during the season. Notice moments. Share joy. Laugh at mishaps.
When you start to feel stress and anxiety – notice what thoughts you are thinking. Don’t try to squash those thoughts, but bring in new thoughts of possibility. Of what is good about the situation. About how capable you are.
Declutter shoulds from your mind. Along with "I need this …. so I can be happy." Which of your thoughts needs decluttering this season?
How about this thought, "I’m the only one that does anything for the holidays. My family doesn’t do anything." We often don’t see what they do. And if it’s true they don’t do anything, is it because we haven’t asked? Or let go of how it needs to be done? Or maybe you think if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. That could be. So? That probably means the task isn’t that important to the rest of the family.
Then there is what we think others expect of us (usually without even asking.) Maybe they’d be fine with not exchanging presents this year. Maybe they’d love to help out by bringing food. Maybe they really don’t care if there are lights on the house.
Try asking. It can be a little awkward, but isn’t your sanity worth it?
How would you relate to other people in your life this season if you had more thoughts of peace, joy and love. And less thoughts of "I need to get this done, it’s not fair, and I hate the holidays."
A peaceful spirit may be the greatest gift you can give your family this year.
And if you blow it (which I’m sure we all will), we can forgive ourselves, ask for forgiveness and pick a better focus for our next thoughts.
Wishing you moments of peace and love!