Happy (?!?!) Holidays

This can be such a challenging time of year for people, partly because our expectations of experiencing all this joy, fun, love and happiness (that’s supposed to be abundant in our lives through the holidays) may not actually be happening.

 In fact, quite the opposite may be happening! 

 So, to help navigate the holiday season more effectively, here are the things that I suggested.  There are three main tips:

 1)      Be clear about what you need, and create a plan to get it

 If you’ve got a particularly difficult family, or you’re far away from family and friends, no one else is going to know what you need.  You’re the expert in that area.  Write down a vision for what your holiday would be, and then figure out how to make it happen.

 Here are some ideas (in no particular order): 

  • limit the time you spend with your family, if that’s possible for you;
  • have a conversation with the person/people you’re nervous about being with, and let them know what you need (this one is for those of you who want to take the advanced track!);
  • schedule time with good friends around the challenging time;
  • do something extreme in the self-care/self-love department (and it doesn’t have to cost money: a bath, meditate, read a great book, cook/buy a scrumptious edible treat);
  • get a massage;
  • go buy yourself a gift that really says “I love you – and you’re worth it!”;
  • what other ideas come to mind?

 2)      “If you want something, give it”

 Have you ever come across that teaching?  It’s very powerful. 

 Some ideas: 

  • if you’re feeling that there’s a lack of love in your relationship/life, focus on giving it;
  • if you’re feeling like you’re not accepted enough, try putting your attention on accepting the person/people you feel judged by;
  • if you don’t feel that you get enough appreciation, give someone a huge dose of it;
  • where else could you put some attention, and in the process feel more of what you want?

 3)      Practice gratitude for everything you can (this is the BIGGIE!)

In practically every book I’ve read about personal growth, this concept is in there in a BIG way.  Since our minds can only focus on one thing at a time, if we’re focused on gratitude, guess what we can’t be thinking about?  How lousy a situation we’ve got.  For anyone who really has got a terrible situation, by the way, and I obviously don’t know your story, I guarantee you there are people who’ve got it worse than you. 

Here are some options, just to get the flow going:

If you’re married, instead of focusing on the recent upsets, or on where he/you/your marriage are not right, how about:

a)      remembering a time when he helped you with something, and feel thankful;

b)      looking at your kids, and allow your gratitude for them to wash over you;

c)      acknowledging what your marriage is teaching you, or the ways it’s helping you grow;

d)     what else could you feel gratitude for, if you were committed to doing that?

If you’re going to your family’s for the holidays, and they’re all a pain in the ass, be grateful that you have a family to bitch about.  Think of the people who are orphans, or alone, or too far away from family to be able to see them.

If you have no money to have a holiday season the way you’d like it to be, think about all that you DO have (and of course think about how many people won’t even have a holiday meal, never mind a gift from anyone).

What’s great about this is that it’s within your control – it’s a game that you play with yourself – and you get to pick whatever it is!

I’ll close with a question that I use, as often as I remember to, when I want to create an outcome in my life – including the sum total of my life: “What will it take to have no regrets?”

Happy holidays to you, and here’s to an amazing New Year, and new decade!