Shifting Your Holidays from Stressful to Peaceful

Happy Holidays! I hope your holiday season is going well.

I know this time of year can be stressful, and I wanted to write a note to plant some seeds and open some awarenesses around this, if you are desiring to create an easier experience around the holidays, if this isn’t already true for you. 

So, first of all, I know a lot of us grew up with a belief that the holidays are stressful. We watched our parents and loved ones do them, possibly running around getting (last-minute) gifts, inviting friends and family over and possibly spending time and money we may not even have on people that we may feel more obligated to versus choosing to do this out of true joy and ease. And this is absolutely one way to do it, and if this way is working for you and/or if this is true for you, great. On the flip side, if this isn’t working for you, I want to give you some things to think about to start to make some changes.

So, first of all, we get to choose whether the holidays are a busy/stressful time for us or whether they’re filled with a lot of open space and calm. For me, personally, I always look forward to the holidays. I love this time of just being and the opportunity to have more calm, time and space with myself and others. 

And, this is what this time is for me.

Yes, I spend time with family and friends, though I don’t get a ton of gifts or send cards (though I used to send a bunch), as I realized this wasn’t true for me. Quality time is my primary love language and so I make choices that feel good to me around this and the ones that don’t I left behind a long time ago. 

With this, I actually spend a lot of time wrapping up the year and getting myself set up for the following year. Not in the cliche or pressured way to create a great year by doing things people tell you will set you up for success, though if those work for you, that’s great. But for me, it’s more about tying up loose ends and getting things, that if I wait to do them, will sit looming over me into the new year. One example of this for me is my accounting, and when I can get this done, I feel light. This, for me, is one of my favorite ways to set myself up for a light year. 

So, with this, where do you begin, if you, too, are desiring to create a more relaxed holiday season?

First, I recommend taking a step back, looking at your choices and asking some questions that include:

1. Is what I’m choosing what I really want to do/what I enjoy or am I doing this from obligation? Why? Is this something I learned or is this really true for me? And, what’s the benefit to the way I’ve previously done these things? Some common benefits can include feeling loved or valued by buying, doing and being busy. 

2. Is who I’m choosing to spend time with who I really want to spend time with? Time is precious and I believe, our most important asset. It’s important to be mindful that who you’re spending time is actually who you want to be. 

3. And, most importantly, how would I create this time of year if I was really choosing what I wanted and I was really honoring myself (and my family, if this is true for you)?

And, in answering the above questions, if you come up with awarenesses that what you’re doing isn’t really what you want to, start to make small changes. 

This might mean spending less time with family/friends or time with different family members/friends. 

It might mean taking more time to spend in nature (one of my favorite ways to enjoy the open space!) or sitting down with your favorite book or a classic holiday movie. 

It might mean buying less gifts or different gifts. (I had the awareness this year that nothing gives me more joy in spending than creating experiences for my loved ones, so many times, when I do want to do something nice for someone, it involves getting them tickets to an event, taking them out to dinner or surprising them with something they’re desiring but hadn’t thought of or can’t afford but really wanted to do.)

Time and life is way too precious to spend your time (and hard-earned money) doing anything you don’t want to do, and it’s the small changes in our lives that make all of the difference. You’re worth it and you’re worthy of these. 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season that’s true to you,