While we like to think it’s easy for us to get into the holiday spirit (thank you movies), enjoy giving, and people in our world, for so many women we experience more Holiday stress than spirit.
When it comes to the holidays, throw in parenting, work demands, financial strain, relationship rockiness or upheaval and it’s pretty clear we have the perfect recipe for creating an epic grinch rather than the spirit of the season.
Overwhelm, burnout and stress eventually lead to holiday shutdown.
If you make it through the holidays you are batting 1000. Some women have their emotional eruptions right at the beginning of thinking of the holidays. As the holidays creep closer it adds more stress to what they’ve already had on the go-go-go through the rest of the year.
Others may have breakdowns in the middle of the prep for the season because of the added expectations, pressures, activity, and busyness.
Some of you will push right to the holiday and end up with a cold/flu or exhaustion to take you down at the 11th hour.
And still others will make it through the holiday following it up with hermit-ing, isolation and disappearing acts to recover from the whole experience. Satisfied you made it but totally “spent”.
If you see yourself in any of these experiences, take a deep breath…
For real, all the way into your belly, hold it for 3 seconds and let it out.
There you feel that momentary relief?
Many of the pieces we stress about over the holidays were things that were initially intended to bring us joy and celebration. Intentions like “the season of the heart” feeling deeply connected to others, giving from the overflowing abundance with generosity. Sounds so lovely compared to the experiences above doesn’t it.
Through our conditioning over time, we have a subtext of dialogue going on in our deeper mind that is running the holiday experience through fear.
Fear that our kids won’t experience the magic if we don’t take them to the parade, and to see Santa, or write the letter, or get them the things they desire most.
Worry that we won’t be able to convey to the people we love, the depth of our love and appreciation for them if we don’t do certain things. The demands can add up if you’re doing all the things; share a special meal, give a gift, give an expensive, big gift, bend over backwards in some way.
Anxiety over the moments passing and not sinking into them for the “perfect” holiday experience. Plus, all the things we want to do for ourselves, but not having the time and space to actually allow it to happen.
This all takes away from the deeper meaning of what the holidays are about and steals from us the true depth of nurturance we could experience.
How do we do this?
Start by remembering the purpose of the holiday season.
In every culture and faith, from November through February, there is a holiday celebrated around LIGHT.
Whether the focus is the light returning to earth, spreading the light, receiving the light, each faith has a celebration of light that takes place at the conclusion of the calendar year or thereabouts.
The associations with light are many. Primarily our survival but even survival has legs. Feelings of hope, inspiration, faith, connection, community, warmth, growth and ultimately love and unity that can flourish when we have all these core pieces in place, are the keys to these celebrations.
(Wow, when you look at it that way it’s kind of sad to see how far we’ve moved away from what the intention of this season was)
So remember that it is about light (the literal and the metaphorical) and love as your guiding intentions.
Things to consider…
- Consider what does light and love mean to you?
- How do you experience it in your life?
- Through what actions or behaviors do you know you are loved?
- What are actions or behaviors are a sign to the ones you love that they are loved?
Then choose from that place what activities and experiences you want to engage in.
Many of the people in my life value time together as the most important experience for them to see more light in their world and to feel my love. Often with tea or coffee 😉 and cell phone-less conversation. Time is my most important resource to fill up so I can be giving of it and still feel good, healthy and caring for myself.
Knowing this also allows me to worry or stress less about finding the perfect gift, or creating the perfect experience, or any other focus. (sigh) Sooooooo much better. Resources in check.
That also doesn’t mean that I book my time with loved ones back to back or without creating space for me. That would be creating more holiday stress with less room for that holiday spirit.
What it does mean is that there is mindful planning and time blocking with boundaries to keep it all moving smoothly. As well as detaching from any “should”s or have too’s. If we don’t get to meet during the holidays, it’s in the calendar for the new year. All good.
What might happen?
When you plan this way, from the inside out, you’ll find that everything begins to fall into place, it works out exactly as you need it to. Its all sorts of synchronicity, intuitive, “meant to be” magic.
You can stay flexible, open and generous, without feeling like you are giving from a depleted place. That means you can have more energy for all this awesomeness.
Now a heads up around adopting this strategy. If you haven’t been living in this mode expect to feel a bit uncomfortable because it is a new way of being for you. We know that whenever we do something new we and the people around us need some time and practice to adjust to the new.
See it for what it is, avoid making it into a drama or problem and carry on with your merry making.
Enjoy this season of Light & Love and if you feel like sharing the light and love let me know what you focus on to stay present with your reason for the season.
Need some help setting boundaries for yourself or others to reduce your holiday stress this season? I got ya covered with Setting Boundaries that stick. In the program I’ll walk you through how to set boundaries and how to keep them. Click HERE for more info.
If you’d like to know more about how we can work together directly, connect with me HERE