We’ve all been there, back to back Christmas parties to attend the last 3 weekends (they literally start the weekend after Thanksgiving ), the kids school Christmas parties that you helped plan and then participate in, making sure all of your VIP friends and colleagues get the perfect gift or card delivered to them on time, Christmas shopping for loved ones and to top it off Christmas with ALL the family (including lovely Aunt Karen). Oh and don’t forget the decorating, present wrapping, and traveling – OH MY!
It’s always been intriguing to me the way Halloween is just pure bliss and fun but the SECOND November 1st hits it’s like our calendars turn into mine fields, silent ticking time BOMBS waiting to explode into blood boiling, veins bursting full blown HOLIDAY PANIC ATTACKS and MELT DOWNS. It can feel like everyone needs everything from us and NOTHING, but PERFECTION will do.
I used to participate in the scenarios mentioned above until one year I stepped back and dropped it all including the expectations of myself (that was the biggest one). I literally just gave it all up. Since that year I have VERY selectively picked back up ONLY the Holiday Traditions that truly serve me and bring me pure delight. *** Note: I am not saying you should or have to take such drastic measures. I think if I would have had my own 3 Tips for Staying Sane during the Holidays maybe I would have stayed sane – HAHA
If you are feeling like the Holidays have lost their magic, I’d encourage you to make a cup of hot chocolate (go ahead add the marshmallows if it delights you), light a fire and take an hour or so to inventory what about the Holidays truly brings YOU Joy and then make yourself a game plan to ONLY incorporate those things from this moment forward!
Once you’ve made your list here are my 3 Tips for making sure EACH experience you choose to participate in during the holidays is MAGICAL!
- Set REASONABLE Expectations of YOURSELF and Others
- 100% GUILT FREE SelfCare/Love – AMP it UP
- Be PRESENT
1. Set REASONABLE (key word here lol) expectations of yourself and others! This requires a few minutes of forethought before events, parties, meetings, get-togethers, SHOPPING trips (this is a BIG one). But the few minutes thinking about what you want to give and receive out of the event/experience can save you HOURS of frustration, exhaustion, and anguish on the back end. Here are my GO-TO questions when I am considering what “Reasonable Expectations” are:
- What do I want to feel like before, during and after this event?
- With the way the event is currently set up have I set myself and others up for success in achieving the above desired feelings?
*** If the answer is “NO/HELL NO” or “I’m not sure” – this is your cue to dig deeper. If you want to feel stress free and be fully present during your Besties Christmas party but you decided to bring a show stopping dessert you have never baked before YOU might just be creating a scenario of absolute HAVOC for yourself (ie: tears of frustration because the dessert didn’t turn out IG perfect, cross words spoken to your S.O. because you are upset, stressed because you are now running late etc). Remember that the way you make yourself and others FEEL is much more important than what you bring. If you can’t answer the question above with a “YES and I am so excited” don’t fret. Just get your creative juices going and ADJUST! Everyone would much rather you adjust to accommodate your true desires than trudge through making you and everyone else miserable just so you can say you did it.
2. AMP up the SelfCare/Love. I know EVERYONE tells you to do this like we should all magically KNOW what SelfCare/Love is. But I am here to boldly tell you that I had NO clue what SelfCare/Love was until I was in my 30’s. Before that I thought it meant giving yourself a spa day, maybe buying yourself a nice outfit, going to get your hair done. I had NO CLUE that you actually have to stop and listen to YOURSELF and ask what YOU need at a specific time to FEEL loved and cared for! SHOCKING right?! Every day we ask others what they need to feel loved and cared for by us, but when was the last time you asked YOU that?! In my past experience because the Holidays were so filled with Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, I failed to realize how much I was giving because it all felt so good until around January 2nd when I realized I wasn’t running on fumes, I had actually completely run out of gas somewhere around Dec. 25th! I’ve also learned that the more SelfCare and Love I show to myself the easier it is for me to give and receive love from others, which is what makes EVERYONE truly happy! Here’s how I approach SelfCare/Love. I treat myself like my own Significant Other (yeah I know it sounds crazy but I DATE Myself!)
Here are a couple questions (+ 1 action item) I use to spark creativity in the way I Love Myself:
- What would DELIGHT me right now? (or insert whatever time you are setting aside for yourself ie. this evening/Saturday morning etc). Could be 2 minutes or 2 hours. I like to make a list that has options already ready in the following increments: 2 minutes, 15 minutes, and an hour +. Think of it as a “Date Wish List” or “Sweet Treats Wish List”. These lists come in handy when I have over extended myself and I cant even think of what would feel good.
- What would make me FEEL Calm, Peaceful, Relaxed, Rejuvenated, Creative and Happy (or whatever other feeling you would like to gift yourself) in the present moment? Remember to think of this as DATING YOU. For inspiration think back to when you first met your SO. How much EFFORT and creativity you put into making them FEEL loved, seen and cared for by you ALL the TIME. Now DO the same for YOU.
- COMMIT (and when I say COMMIT, I MEAN IT) to giving yourself the time you need to think about and then do the above!! Stop making excuses to put yourself last. No one is asking you to be a martyr. People who love and care about you actually WANT you to love and take care of yourself! Once you start making the commitment to yourself, you’ll see how happy everyone is to help support you in doing it! I’ve found that making the time to do 3 to 6 sweet things a day for myself does WONDERS for my personal happiness and stress levels which carries over positively to EVERYONE I love and interact with.
3. Be PRESENT. We all know the saying “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift… That’s why we call it a Present.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. And I think we can all agree that it’s a lovely idea. But remembering that this present moment is a gift can be difficult when the pressures of all the expectations, family, parties, gifts, money, perfection etc. seems to be suffocating you. When I decided I wasn’t going to live in that high stress environment anymore I found a lovely practice I like to use to remind me to come back to the present and truly enjoy the beautiful life I am creating. The 5 Senses Presence Practice below works like this:
FIRST – STOP and take a deep breath (you know the BIG kind that makes your stomach stick out!)
- Look around for a moment and find 5 beautiful or curious things that you can SEE.
- Then close your eyes and Touch 4 things and think about how they feel on your skin (EX: maybe a pillow, a piece of clothing, a blanket or cup – whatever is close will do.)
- With your eyes still closed listen for 3 things you hear (EX: birds, cars, your heartbeat).
- With your eyes still closed breath in deeply and notice two smells that are currently present (EX: the fire burning, the perfume you are wearing, the cookies baking in the oven).
- Then you can open your eyes and taste something yummy, maybe a cup of tea or coffee. Or if you are feeling indulgent a piece of chocolate or another Christmas goody! If there’s mistletoe hanging and your sweethearts around, I’d suggest a calorie free kiss to top it off 😉
This exercise is QUICK, simple and can be done anywhere very easily within a few moments. Your UNDIVIDED Presence is truly the greatest gift you can give. Let all the worries and stress go and BE a present to yourself and others this Holiday Season.
Sending you tons of love and lastly a new favorite quote to remind us all whats truly important:
“We didn’t realize we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun!” – Unknown
P.S. If these 3 Tips were helpful I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!