Here we go, officially into the holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yet at times it can feel like a frenzy instead of fun. So here are a few things I’ll be reminding myself to do this year to keep the chaos in check.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be about doing it all, even though at times it can seem like it. It can feel like there is pressure to take on every possible activity to make sure everyone has the perfect holiday. When you give in to that pressure, do you always feel like you’re having a perfect holiday?
Prioritize a holiday tradition or three, maybe not 30. Prioritize positive actions. The better we feel about our choices, the less stress we experience.
Plan ahead so events don't sneak up on you. See something perfect for Uncle Frank? Go for it, rather than holding out to consider the infinite possibilities. Give yourself the gift of checking it off your list and precious time.
Let go of “perfect.” The holidays can be about doing just the very most important things. Which can be a direct route to enjoying the ride. Be free of the things you don’t really need. Will you get back to them someday? Maybe. But your priorities are enough for now. See what is there to fill the space when you let go. Give your priorities some elbow room to breathe.
Take a moment. Put the phone down. Notice your surroundings. The simple pleasures are the best. Witnessing a child’s delight. Talking with Grandma. Holding a hot cup of tea.
Meditate. I will admit that, while my doctor has advised I do this, I have not made it a routine. It really does only take a moment, though. Choose a word, phrase, or sound and let it guide you into meditation just before getting up or while waiting in a line - whenever it works.
Exercise. I know that since I’ve involved friends and family in my walking routines, I have been more inclined to stick with it, and the time passes in a flash. Even when I’m exercising at home on my own, though, I feel so refreshed afterward, more ready for what’s ahead.
Be in the moment. Find the beauty in it. Whatever it’s time to do, be fully there to do it. Not distracted by phone apps while talking to someone. Not planning the next event (that’s tough for me). Be actively there in each moment, making the most of it. Put in the extra work because it’s worthwhile, it’s the choice that you make, it’s what you want, it's right for you and others - not because you feel put-upon, full of “shoulds.”
Be the good you want to see in the world. Stress can carry crabby behavior and negativity with it. Remember what’s important and let go of the rest. Consider what is needed in the world and do something toward that. Each small step makes a difference and is rewarding.
Believe that you are enough, perfect in your imperfections just because you are you. Believe that the holidays can be a positive experience for you as well as your loved ones. And yes, it very well may be more positive and memorable by actually doing less.
Believe in the joy of the season.