One of the hardest things for me to guard against this time of the year is the high expectations of the “perfect holiday season.” You know what I mean, perfect tree, house beautifully decorated, cookies baked, presents wrapped, snow gently falling….you see where I’m going with this.
It’s a time for family and warm memories from past holidays, but the desire to have enough time to do everything and expect to have everything be perfect is, unfortunately, a recipe for stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated.
I, for years, felt the need to have the picture postcard holiday. If I didn’t bake 12 different kinds of cookies, my family would be disappointed; if I didn’t decorate 3 Chrismas trees the house wouldn’t look complete; if I didn’t say yes to every request for help or a favor I would be considered a Scrooge; if I didn’t buy everyone the perfect present I would disappoint someone. I made myself crazy! I’d like to pass along some tips if you are starting to feel the same way as the holidays are getting in full swing.
- This is NOT a competition. You can’t compete with some fairy tale vision of the perfect holiday season as depicted in the movies. This is real life, some people have more time and others do not. Recognize and honor what are realistic expectations for you.
- Remember that there is a “reason for the season”. This is a joyful time to connect with family and friends, keep that first and foremost in your mind.
- It’s OK to say no. When you overload yourself, you just set yourself up for what I call the “spin effect”. You spin from one thing to another and as you try to keep up you spin faster until you start to wobble.
- Make a conscious decision about what you will and will not to this time of the year. Reflect on past seasons and how you felt: were you overwhelmed, what caused it, how can you change this year so as not to repeat the same pattern.
Focus on the emotions that you want to feel during the holidays: make sure that the activities and people you surround yourself with reflect that.
Enjoy the season!
All the best…