It never fails. The moment the trick or treaters retreat to their homes, a silent buzzer goes off, alerting all folks to prepare for our next big event: Christmas.
Time to shift from tootsie rolls to eggnog; from plastic skeletal remains on the front lawn to lit-up reindeer; from discounted Halloween decorations to shelves upon shelves of holiday embellishments. The signs are all around us: “hurry, get ready!”, “buy those Christmas presents NOW!”, “you need more decorations to keep up with the Joneses!”, “your wallet is needed right here…stat!”.
It’s exhausting. No wonder we feel stressed, broke, exhausted, bitter and resentful of a holiday that’s meant to evoke anything BUT those feelings!
If we’re not mindful of our own priorities and how to react to a commercial world that commands our attention everywhere we go, we’re bound to get sucked up into a vortex of holiday gloom. No one likes a Christmas that feels rushed, stressful, burdensome or overwhelming. The good news is we have the power nurture our holiday spirit. Here are 3 ways we can slow down and enjoy the ride.
1 – KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
The next time you feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, ask yourself what matters. Will washing and ironing those cloth napkins for your guests make the holiday dinner that much more memorable? Ask yourself why you’re doing it. What meaning have you attached to your “should-do’s”? Is it worth it? Look for ways to eliminate! Do you always buy a gift for you co-worker’s mom’s sister? Why? Consider cutting that off your list and send a kind email or card instead. When you stop putting so much pressure on yourself, you give others the freedom to do the same. Maybe that person has been buying you something every year only because she feels obligated to do so in return? Free yourself and others of silly expectations.
I invite you to do an honest assessment of yourself. If you get frazzled this time of year, ask yourself why that is. How is stress making you a better or worse person to be around? If you’re constantly burnt out by the million things you take on, perhaps it’s time to let something go. Delegate. Ask loved ones to take on their own responsibilities too. Allow yourself to experience more “lightness” and be free to enjoy your time with the people you care about. Don’t bring them down with your martyrdom.
2 – Ask yourself what matters most
What would make this the most amazing Christmas you’ve had? What do you picture when you consider the perfect holiday season? Is it baking with your grandchildren? Watching Christmas movies with your family? Playing board games? Simply reading a book by the fire? Carefully evaluate what you’re spending your time, money and energy on: is it worth it? Does your contribution to those things line up with what’s actually important?
Get your creative on. Ask yourself how you can save time, money and energy to focus on what really matters. Let me ask you: how you would spend your Christmas if you knew this this was your last? Your values should become pretty clear then.
3 – Have a Timeout
The number one thing that seems to go out the window in times like these is the oh-so-important element of self-care. The more you exercise self-compassion and self-love, the more you’ll have to share with others. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? If you don’t have the compassion and love for yourself, the people around you sure won’t get any from you. Take the time to nurture yourself. Relax. Exercise. Read. Have coffee with a friend. Watch movies. Play with the kids. Journal. Meditate. Pray. Be YOU! The more you can come back to the inside, the more beauty and radiance you can show on the outside. And that, my friend, is the best gift you can give of all!
I hope these tips will get you grounded for the season and that you can enjoy a magical Christmas for all the right reasons. If you’d like to explore ways to simplify, not just your Christmas, but your life overall, contact me today!