As we move out of Thanksgiving and into Christmas, you may be feeling the stress and pressure of playing the holiday game.
We can easily become lost in obligation, guilt, and meeting the expectations of others in order to avoid disappointing others and to maintain our self-professed label of a “kind, generous, loving family member.”
The holidays also tend to dig up the past.
Gathering with family members who are not part of our daily lives can remind us of past hurts, times when we felt unsupported, unworthy, and unloved.
The holidays can also be a challenge for those of us independent souls who may not have others to share this time of connection, causing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
So how can we prepare our hearts for avoiding these possible stressors and maintaining our focus on the reason for the season.
- Define your reason for the season. Ask yourself the following questions: What really matters to me? How would I enjoy feeling during this season? How would I want those I love or those around me to feel during the holidays?
- Make a plan. What actions could you take to invoke how you wish to feel and how you would like others to feel. Give yourself permission to step outside the holiday box and do things your own way. Aim to make this season fun and enjoyable even if you break tradition.
- Start your own unique family tradition. If you crave family connection get creative with a family game or memory sharing tradition. Have movie night and dig the family movies out of the attic. Remembering happy times are not only entertaining but also heartwarming.
- Practice meaningful gift giving. This year consider giving the gifts that keep on giving long after Christmas is past. We may send Christmas cards covered in the words love, joy, and peace, but how often do we take steps to bring these things into our lives and the lives of those we love. Ask yourself and others, what can I do for you that would make you feel more loved, more joyful, and more peaceful.
- Be an outreach. No matter if you are alone this season or surrounded by family, make a plan to reach out to at least one person who may need a friendly visit, a phone call, a hug, or some form of human connection. Knowing people care enough to think of you and take the time and energy to reach out and connect with you can be the greatest gift of all.
Happy Holidays and best wishes for avoiding the usual stressors and staying merry and bright.
To learn more about Angie, go to www.facebook.com/YOU2TRAINING
This essay was featured in the Nov. 25th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.