Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tis the Season… Ways to De-Stress the Holidays

December 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Newsletter

I hope this newsletter finds you well. This year I’m staying in Denver for the holidays and celebrating with friends. I was in Detroit visiting family in August and November so this year it’ll be Zooming with the family on Christmas Day.

This month my article focuses on making the most of the holidays while minimizing the stress this season can bring.

This morning I heard a radio show and the interviewee talked about letting go of perfection at the holidays….not needing to find the perfect gifts, not needing to get “everything” done or done right….. I loved this message because it is so easy to put too much pressure on ourselves and on those around us at the holidays. The psychologist that was being interviewed said that in a year or two from now (or maybe in several weeks) we won’t remember most of the gifts we receive but we will remember and cherish the quality time and laughter we experience with those we love!

I would add that when we personalize a gift or write a thoughtful note this can mean much more than all the glitz, gadgets and glamour. One year I gave my niece Cassie several gifts, but one of the gifts was a tiny decorative box (about $5). Inside the box I placed a note about one of my prized memories of her. She told me that was her favorite gift!

Other areas that cause us stress at the holidays are comparison and expectation. What if we let go of all comparison or expectation of what our lives should be like at the holidays and released our expectations of all those around us? What if we just appreciated those that we love and all the good things in our lives and even the challenges?

The holidays can be a tricky time bringing a mix of enjoyment, overwhelm and loneliness. It’s a time when we can appreciate those that we love and all the good things in our lives. And yet it is also a time when we may wish our lives were different (wishing that we had a significant other to share it with, that we weren’t experiencing loss or relationship or family difficulties, etc). Just know that you are not alone and that many others find the holidays to be challenging, too.

So here are some ideas for de-stressing the holidays and for finding more enjoyment this season:

  • Focus on what you do like about the holidays (the beautiful lights, seeing friends, traveling, giving to others, staying in town, having time off, seeing family, hearing your favorite songs, holiday treats, etc.).
  • Shift your attention from what isn’t working in your life to what you do like about your life.
  • Be easy on yourself and others. Don’t expect to be perfectly happy and filled with holiday cheer if you’re not.
  • Let go of having to find the perfect gift or of having to get any or all of your cards out.
  • If certain situations bring you down, then why not find something better to do. Allow yourself to say ‘yes’ ‘maybe’ or ‘no’ to invitations and also allow yourself to change your mind.
  • Limit your spending. It really isn’t about giving the perfect gift or about what you spend.
  • Reserve some energy for things you really want to do. Luxuriate in whatever way suits you (reading a book, watching movies, attending yoga classes, getting a massage, hanging with friends, talking on the phone, or not talking, etc.).
  • Realize, that you are not alone. Many people feel just like you do and welcome life getting back to normal.

When we release our heightened expectations around the holidays we lighten up and can find ourselves enjoying the small and the great gifts of the season.

Wishing you, your loved ones and your families a peaceful holiday season filled with love and possibility.


Quotes of the month:

“Today as we step out of ourselves, and rest in each other’s company, in this marvelous universe, let us be grateful, profoundly grateful, that we met, that we exchanged e-mails, or smiles or embraces. That we acknowledged in humility, each other’s extraordinary presence. ” Deepak Chopra

“Do whatever you must with people, but never shut anyone out of your heart, even for a moment.”  –  Bo Lozoff

Comments are closed.