I’m at home entertaining eleven house guests for the holidays. Thank goodness they are flexible with low expectations because I’m not the Martha Stewart type. I’ve found the following pointers useful in keeping my holidays heartfelt and happy. I hope they work for you too…
7 Pointers for a Peaceful & Playful Holiday
Have you noticed how expectations can roar out of control around the Holidays. We wish for everything perfect…. Everything beautiful … everything on our long, long list to be DONE! This year instead of sprinting like a marathon runner “doing it all… all by yourself,” CHOOSE DIFFERENTLY. Just for fun as best as you can, slow down, pace yourself, and let the season become a meditation on “delight.”
Regardless of what task, take a deep breath, relax and allow yourself to be fully present in your body. It’s easy to get so active our minds focus outward on shopping, cleaning, cooking, wrapping, and doing—we become “absent-minded” so to speak. Just for fun, focus on being mindful and give “presence” instead of “presents.” Share the gift of yourself by being fully attentive in each interaction. You’ll notice ordinary moments transform into heart-felt, memorable connections.
Pause to Receive
When we’re busy giving, there’s no time for receiving. Receiving creates cooperation and mutuality. Instead of feeling awkward about it, rejoice in allowing someone else the joy of giving. And, there’s all the beauty around to be received during this time of the year… bright and colorful lights, soft candlelight, yummy sweets and excited children poised on Santas’ knee. Pause often to notice the delight free for the taking.
Empty Unhappy Feelings on Paper
This season can stir sadness because of unmet expectations. We have a human tendency to compare ourselves to others and to imagine them having more fun and resources. Memories from unhappy holidays of the past or unfulfilled dreams also can stimulate a sense of holiday blues. The best thing is to pause and receive these feelings–they are merely transient emotions passing through, they are not you. Treat them as guests who stop in for a visit, share some news and move on. Sometimes they stay for a minute, sometimes an hour, maybe even days, but always they eventually leave, and your heart is once again yours to feel at home. A great technique is to sit down and take 5 minutes to write down these feelings on paper releasing any need to edit or hold back. It’s like dumping uncensored feelings onto the blank page, so you no longer hold them in your head. It works great!
Take Personal Time Daily
Squeeze in some personal time every day … maybe a soothing bath, walk in nature, meditation, exercise, a relaxing coffee break (whatever fits you)… it’ll help you feel energized, and focused. Your brain and your body will recenter and you’ll get more done. You’ll avoid unnecessary mistakes that waste your precious time. Learn from Gandhi who said, “I have so much to do today, I must meditate two hours instead of one.”
Ask for Help
Give yourself permission to ask for help whether it’s requesting your partner to pick up gifts, your children/roommate to pick up the house, or your friends to look beyond your messy kitchen. And if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed and hopeless for a period of time, always give yourself permission to seek professional support. Community mental health centers work on a sliding scale and are available 24/7.
Recently, I did a session with a graduate student preparing for a big job interview… Quite to his surprise, the resources who showed up to support him during his virtual journal were “Snap, Crackle, Pop” characters from his childhood who told him, “When you smile at the interview, it smiles back.” Remember to SMILE… it gets great results! And if nothing else, you’ll feel better.
Warmest Wishes for a holiday filled with love and laughter,
The RIM® Institute toll-free 888-788-0800