Deck the halls with boughs of… obligations invitations, expectations, solicitations, requests for donations, writing salutations…even graduations galore! It’s supposed to the most wonderful time of year, and yet it’s often the most wonder-LESS, stress-FULL and overwhelming time of year and leaves us with nothing else on our own Christmas or holiday list other than the wish for it all to end (or at least an emergency “eject” button that will catapult us into a blissful, secluded sleep from which we would awaken with it all a bad dream). This battle is one we fight every day and the holidays just takes it up a notch which calls for some proven tools to win the fight.
The weight of this season is mighty and for many, their morning coffee/triple-shot espresso is accompanied by a “nice” feeling of being more overwhelmed and behind than any other time of year, regardless of religious, spiritual or political orientation. These stress-filled feelings might not even leave you alone during the sleep the precedes the aforementioned morning coffee, lacing your dreams and tainting your slumber to make it bliss-less, restless and, decidedly, sleepless. Ah, the holidays and to top it all off, the ever-thoughtful retail industry brings it into our worlds earlier each and every year proselytizing that we MUST succumb to Black Friday in July, stockings hung in September and all the goodies to satisfy everyone’s Christmas dreams appearing the minute the last Halloween candy is dropped in your child’s trick or treat pumpkin. Madness? Yes, I think so. It definitely meets criteria for some sort of insanity!
Is there a way out of this overwhelm? Or must we all just resign ourselves to this being a “sign of the times” and the way things are during this generation with little hope of it changing and lots of assumption that it will only get worse? This holiday stress can actually be stopped dead it in its tracks.
How? Here’s your holiday ACE:
- Accept that you cannot and will not be able to do it all. We often fear we cannot do it all and, you know what? We’re right! We can’t do it all. We cannot satisfy all, attend all, decorate all, buy gifts for all or even donate to all.
The good news and the bad news is we’re human, with limits, and once we remind ourselves of that and accept it deeply, it’s incredibly freeing.
- Choose what you’ll do and what you won’t do. Decide what’s really important to you this holiday season and why, and then put everything through that filter. The only “to do” list we have to satisfy is the one that is Divinely given. That’s simple truth for those of us who have faith in God.
Everyone else may feel, to us, like they rank on par with God, but we have the power to choose who or what is the ruler of our priorities.
For almost all of us, we have the choice to say yes or no to something. We control the faucet of those demands, requests, etc. that we take on. While it may feel like you’re expected to drink from a fire hose the bottom line it, YOU control the volume of water that you try to take in. We so often forget and feel we have no choice – that “must” precedes almost everything on our “to do” list, and that’s simply not the case. Once you accept you cannot do it all, then you get to choose, based on the criteria YOU define.
- Exhale. You’ve accepted your humanity, chosen what is important to you and now that you’ve done the hard work, you need to EXHALE and rest in the decisions you’ve made. Will the noise or “faucet” of demands and requests stop because of the work you’ve done? Unfortunately not. But there’s this lovely little mute button that you can control and that works especially well when you simply exhale and honor that you have made your choices for the holiday season (and keep making them through that filter).
Rest in that assurance that you did and can continue to choose and somehow all of those unsatisfied requests will be okay. The “requestors” will be okay and you, definitely, will be more than okay for bringing some gladness to stop the madness.
May this be the start to an enjoyable, mad-LESS, love-filled Christmas and holiday season for us all!
P.S. If you know someone who might need this little reminder, please pass it along. No greater gift to me…