The holiday season is upon us. A time when we feel immense pressure. Pressure to get the perfect gift for everyone from our mail person to our 4th cousin that we see once a year during the holidays. Pressure to make our homes pretty and decorated, inviting and cleaner than usual because guests might be coming. Pressure to bake and cook things we only make once a year because Uncle Bob expects it and the holiday just won’t be the same without our jell-o and fruit salad. Pressure to send letters and cards to friends and family near and afar; telling them all the wonderful things we did this year and conveniently forgetting the fights, doctors appointments, failed school assignments and all the other things that make us normal and human so that we can appear to be the happiest bunch of a$$holes this side of the nuthouse.
Many years ago, I was that person. The presents had to be wrapped to perfection, I started baking November 1st to get everything done that “everyone” expected me to have, I started planning my holiday “come and go” 6 months before it happened, I decorated every nook and cranny of my home, I cleaned for weeks because people might drop in and see a tumbleweed of my hair and dust in the corner of my spare bedroom in the basement! But I gave most of that up.
What I do instead are things that matter….to me and the people who matter to me. No one has noticed that I haven’t send cards in over 3 years, no one has mentioned that I haven’t made hand-decorated gingerbread men, no one has commented that my tree is smaller (if I even bother to put one up) and I have less decorations. They have noticed that I’m happier and not stressed out and wonder what my “secret” is.
What matters is the time we spend nurturing our own spirit, the time we spend with friends and family who matter to us; the hugs we give, the support we give and the things we do for people less fortunate than us. The is the spirit I want to generate during the holidays and all year long, dammit.
Count your blessings; not the number of gifts you give (or get) or the number of cards you send (or get in return). Nurture yourself and your loved ones. Learn to let go of those things that either serve you in a negative manner or don’t serve you at all. Notice your stress decrease. Notice how you actually enjoy this time of year – the scents, the tastes, the cosy nights inside. Be mindful. Learn that letting go of those things is joyous and essential to our well-being.
it is NOT selfish to provide self-care and reduce your stress during the holidays, otherwise you are missing the point of the whole season. It’s not a competition; if you think it’s a completion then YOU are the winner if you stress less and enjoy the season! Allocate your f#$ks accordingly!!!