The holiday season is HERE…but more aptly it may feel as if the season is ‘upon’ you – literally! ‘Tis the season of holiday overwhelm!
What festive holiday lyrics play through your ears as you stroll malls, bake goodies, and wrap gifts? How about these:
Deck the Halls with shopping lists.
O Holy…I forgot to buy wrapping paper.
Frosty the Snow…man, I’m late to pick up the kids!
Winter Wonderland…got to shovel snow.
Silver Bells…how many more cards to write?
Hanukkah Blessings…I forgot the chocolates for the neighbours!
Hark, the Herald Angles Sing…the bills will arrive in Jan-u-ar-y.
Does this time of year need to be so overwhelming? Actually, it CAN be easier this year…right NOW. Really! Want to find out how?
Amid the joyous celebrations, gifts, and rituals of the holiday season an underlying tone of chaos, expectations, and drama often lies in wait…until that moment, the one you dread: overwhelm strikes. How can you remain calm, yet festive through it all? Here’s the big trick: focus on what has meaning for you.
Many people have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. For example, we may love the excitement, parties, decorations, rituals, music, gifts, and more. However, even these fun things can overwhelm us. Drama, consumption, obligation, and expense mark this time of year like no other time.
What tends to create holiday overwhelm? Well, for me I often feel a sense of responsibility. It’s as if there’s a holiday devil on my shoulder whispering: I’m not doing enough, I won’t get it all done in time, and I won’t please everyone. Indeed, this is the season of heightened ‘people-pleasing.’ Sound familiar to you?
So, I wonder…what if this year we each make a commitment to appreciate the deeper meaning of the holiday season, regardless of external pressures we may feel AND internal self-talk we may engage? Valuing the holiday season, as with most things in life, makes life more enjoyable and much less stressful. Rather than rushing around anxious to cross every item off our never-ending To-Do lists, we could choose other ways – ways that will make this holiday season FREE of overwhelm.
I welcome you to join me in taking 3 key steps to feeling more fulfilled and less overwhelmed in the coming weeks:
- Take Responsibility for Your Own Experience. Know that the overwhelm you experience during the holiday season does not come from the holidays…but from you. Yup, you are the manifestor of your own experience! It’s important to remember and live your life from this perspective – by doing so, you are empowered. By changing how you think, speak, and behave during the holidays, you can shift away from feeling like a victim of holiday mayhem. Instead, by letting go of your own beliefs, assumptions, and/or expectations about the holidays, you enhance your enjoyment and lessen your overwhelm. So, what do you take responsibility for releasing this season?
- Honour That You Always Have a Choice. Indeed, you ALWAYS have a choice about how you think, feel, and act. This holiday season you can choose to be annoyed by obligations, family members, crowds, finances, and anything else you put your mind to. Or you can choose to enjoy the magic of the season. While you do not always get to choose the people around you or external circumstances, you have a choice about how you relate to and engage each of them. This means your holiday experience is up to you, based on your choices. What do you choose to embrace during the holidays?
- Focus on What You Value About the Season. Consciously choose to focus on the things you truly appreciate about the holiday season. Share what you value with those around you – inspire heart-felt conversations by telling them what has meaning for you and ask them what is important to them about the season. For example, find ways to value work and/or family gatherings – rather than participating out of obligation, find the silver tinsel lining of the gifts these people bring to your life. Regardless of where you are, what you do, or whom you are with, respect the many blessings that are in your life right now, for this season and onwards. Make a list…and check it twice!
Certainly, the holiday season can be challenging. However, you always have something to be grateful for – often many things. During the holiday season, you can choose to take a step back, breathe deeply, find meaning, and share gratitude for all you are and all you have. In fact, if not now during this season of celebration, then when?
While there are always tasks for you to do, gifts to buy, gatherings to attend, and so much more overwhelm, you can choose to honour the holidays with love, gratitude, and joy…if you’re willing to look for, find, and focus on what inspires meaning for YOU.
What will it take for you to let go of your overwhelm to sing your holiday meaning? What do you value most during this time of year?
Truly, deeply, and meaningfully…Happy Holidays!