I used to scoff when I would hear anyone combine the words “holiday” and “stress” in the same sentence. I didn’t understand why people would find themselves in a mental mess during the holidays. After all, holidays were all about shopping, eating, time off from school and work and welcome family gatherings. Of course, that was the 20-year-old me; a dreamy version with self-centered expectations. Now, as an adult having weathered a few storms in my life, I get it. I really, really do.
Over time things can get… well… complicated. Relationships can strain and the obligatory family gathering can cause deeper tension. Shopping with financial limitations can be truly taxing. Add to the mix a super storm and super tragedy, and things can begin to look less than holly, jolly.
I took a moment this year to think about what’s really necessary this holiday season and decided to create a list that fills my bucket with the big rocks first. You know the story about the glass jar full of rocks-is-your-life analogy? Good stuff.
Well, I’ve taken that to heart and I created a short list for keeping myself in check this holiday season. Just maybe, it can help you too.
Who I Love. In all my busy-ness and list-making I know how very easy it can be to neglect the ones I love. Sometimes a step back to reflect what I can improve is necessary. Does my husband need anything from me? Can my relationship with my family or friends improve? Is there someone that needs a quick phone call just to let them know I think about them often and value them in my life? Yes. Yes. And yes.
What I Love. I love my work. Like… REALLY love my work. But I need to fit in time for additional things that fulfill me and make me a better, more well-rounded person. I love working out. I love traveling. And I love learning new ways to improve. While these may not be rocks as big as family and friends, they are significant and they have great value to me. I will carve out the space I need to incorporate them into my life.
Time Out. A self-enforced time-out helps me to reset my mind and body. Even a 10 minute power nap or a brisk walk around the corner can be enough to keep me productive through the rest of the day. I don’t have to see it as a conflict or unnecessary. If I’m too busy, then I’m too busy. But that quick reset can really do wonders for me. As can… a good night’s rest.
Less is More. This is a personal favorite since I think it helps me the most. Since I’m a list-maker, I have a visual of everything I need to accomplish in a day or a week. So I can use this as a tool to simplify, reorder or eliminate the things that I know will cause stress. Many times, just looking at the list as something I “would like” to accomplish rather than something “I must” accomplish can also make all the difference.
So… raise that peppermint mocha in the air and let’s toast to a stress-free holiday this year!