The month of November officially kicked off the holiday season. Truth be told, all eyes and ears were on the ever-so-exciting election that the days and months secretly snuck by us, and the smell of pumpkin pie suddenly started to fill the air.
For some of you, just the thought of traveling or being around family can increase your stress level and bring on those deep breaths of anxiety. Please kindly allow me to be more blunt; family parties and the holiday hustle can be a huge headache. I say that with love because it is indeed my favorite time of the year, but I also say that with a big gravy boat full of honesty. No matter how your carve it, studies have shown that the holidays can heighten stress and create a restlessness in your mood.
I challenge you to make this holiday season different and encourage you to make it your happiest and healthiest year yet. This can be done by simply adjusting your perspective, reflecting on your own personal growth and creating boundaries.
To make this challenge effective, you have to first come to the deep understanding that this is not about magically erasing all your family drama. That is simply not realistic because the only person you can control is yourself. Plus, life is full of uncertainty and unexpected moments, which again is completely out of your hands. The second point that you must consciously have on your radar is that there is no such thing as a perfect family. The word “perfect” puts too much pressure on any situation. No matter how big or small, every person you know is dealing with some kind of private family matter. Whether that is harboring childhood wounds, dealing with health issues, money problems, addiction, hurt feelings, etc. – the list goes on and on. But guess what? We’ve all been down one of those roads once or twice. So, I want you to let go of any perfect expectations and the idea that one family appears so much better compared to your own.
With that said, the most important point I suggest you concentrate on before the holidays arrive are your personal boundaries. What works for you may be different than what work for others. This is about you, your life and your individual happiness. Setting up your boundaries will mentally support you through those more challenging moments of holiday stress and surprises. Boundaries will also serve as a guide and keep you on track so that you have more peace within yourself and in your present surroundings.
I want you to take a few minutes to answer the below questions to ignite your thinking and bring your subconscious thoughts to the forefront. There are no right or wrong answers, but your wheels should start to turn and help you think about what it is you want to achieve in the next couple months.
- What would make you most happy over the holiday season?
- What people are involved in that scenario?
- What environment do you feel the most comfortable in?
- What kind of behavior do you want to stay away from?
- Who in your family has shown you support and love?
- Have you made a conscious effort to show kindness as well?
- Do you engage in positive conversations and show interest?
- What are the holidays supposed to be about?
- What is different about you this year compared to last year?
- Do you plan to give back or do something charitable during the holidays?
Take time to meditate and digest your answers. Once you’ve done that, you should begin to have a better vision and a sense of certainty of what your wish is for the holidays. That could be a balance between family time and time for yourself, or perhaps just time inventing your own tradition.
Whatever your decision is this holiday season, I hope you free your mind of any unnecessary thoughts that may trigger stressful thinking. The holidays are meant to be a joyous and relaxing time, but it is up to you to customize how you want to celebrate and recharge.