The holiday season is upon us, and we often find ourselves sending out countless “Happy Holidays” messages to friends, family, and colleagues. But let’s pause for a moment and observe our own holiday experience: while we wish for peaceful, joyous, and relaxing days for others, do we also enjoy such peaceful, joyous, and relaxing days ourselves?
For many of us, holidays are about obligations: we HAVE TO visit our relatives, we HAVE TO buy and wrap presents, we HAVE TO cook special holiday meal, we HAVE TO bake cookies and cakes, … the list goes on.
For many of us, these activities are peaceful, joyous, and relaxing. Maybe even energizing. We love spending time with our relatives. We find joy in surprising our friends and family with personal gifts. We enjoy the process of cooking and baking…
But what if your relatives, the ones you “have to” visit, drain your energy?
What if cooking is a source of stress for you?
What if the holidays are more about “stress” rather than “rest”?
Notice how you feel
When you do something that you “have to” do during the holidays, notice how you feel: is that a feeling of happiness and excitement, or stress and anxiety? Do you feel the flutter of joyful butterflies or a tense knot in your stomach?
If what you feel is the vibe of energized butterflies, then embrace the moment and enjoy!
However, if you sense a knot in your stomach, feel stress, anxiety, and notice your energy level draining… then it’s worth evaluating what changes you can make to improve the situation.
Maybe you can (politely) wrap up the family visit, and do something instead that recharges your batteries. It may not be easy, but you’ll realize that it’s worth the effort, all for the sake of preserving your energy.
Maybe you cannot “escape”, but perhaps you could shorten the duration of your visit? Or if it’s a larger family gathering, maybe you could seek conversations rather with people who elevate your soul?
Or if baking is not your thing, why not consider ordering cakes, as opposed to baking them yourself under stress?
And, as for those presents, you might think about having them wrapped at the shop where you buy them. In doing so, you can avoid those late-night present-wrapping sessions that often end with you crying and exclaiming, “Never again!”
Pay attention to your own energy level
If you know that drinking a cinnamon cappuccino in your favorite café recharges your batteries – do that.
Buy the book for yourself you have on your “read later” list.
Go for a walk.
Listen to your favorite music.
Take care of yourself. Recharge your own batteries.
The people who really matter will be grateful if you can give them a most energized version of you. They don’t mind what “has to be” done. They don’t mind what you wear, or if your makeup is not perfect.
They don’t mind if the presents are not wrapped as on the cover of the nicest Christmas magazines.
What they will value is the moments you spend with them. Your time. Your energy. Your vibe.
Yes, I do it my way…
Yes, I went to my favorite café this morning. Yes, I had a cinnamon cappuccino. Even more, I also had a gluten-free brownie with it, while reading my latest favorite book (Reboot from Jerry Collonna).
(Yes, on December 22. Yes, two days before Christmas Eve. Yes, it was a kind of “Christmas present” for myself…)
Yes, we made ginger cookies with my children and the neighbor children a few days ago. Yes, the kitchen was a mess for a while, but who cares when all those children filled the air with laughter and happinnes.
Yes, a few days later we had the friends of my eldest children over for lunch and a day filled with joy.
Yes, we baked and cooked, but not in a stressful way… All of these days were about being together, rather than “everything HAVE TO be perfect…”
Yes, we shared gifts, but the emphasis was not on the perfectness of those gifts or the wrapping…
Have you ever noticed when getting Christmas/birthday present or card, that the person who gave it to you had actually thought of you? Spent time with buying, creating, writing, drawing that “small” gift to you? – In all of those moments, that person was thinking of you with the intent of giving you something… Most importantly, his/her time and energy and attention…
Now read your holiday cards again, with this in your mind… They all feel different now, right?
And this is the real spirit of the holidays.
With that, I really-really mean to wish you joy, happiness, and relaxing times for this holiday season.
Rest, and not stress…