During this time of year, I find that people shift their focus from their usual day-to-day to focus on the events, preparations, and expectations of the holidays. Everyone’s experience is different. Some people actually experience warm and fuzzy joyous times with family and friends; some others long for that holiday “perfection” as family conflicts heighten and work deadlines loom; while some others feel even more lonely and depressed than usual, watching others enjoy the season while they are not. Many also get caught up in the frenetic holiday hype. In any event, the time is fraught with busy, busy, busy. Most experience holiday stress. Year-end work goals vie with holiday preparations and events for our precious time and attention. In the midst of all this it is easy to lose one’s sense of peace, calm, joy and accomplishment—providing you had any of that in the first place.
So, how do you build that sense of peace, calm, joy and accomplishment for yourself in this very demanding and busy time filled with holiday stress?
So far in these articles, we have been discussing some of the universal laws of thought and living, so to reduce this holiday stress, it is useful to start there.
- It is useful to remember our emotional feelings follow what we just thought.
- It is useful to remember no one makes us feel anything, we do it.
- It is useful to remember that deliberate intention sets your focus and makes a tremendous difference in what you choose to think, decide, perceive as well as determining your actions.
- It is useful to remember that Intention provides significant clarity, providing you have given effective thought to what you do actually want HERE first.
- It is useful to remember that your focus on staying in this present moment NOW is both your ONLY point of power, but also the only way you are HERE with the experiences you say you want, instead of living ahead of yourself in what you plan or intend to do next or later.
The question then becomes what you truly want out of this season— for work, for family, and for yourself. What do you really want to experience this holiday season? What if you took 30 to 60 minutes now and asked yourself some vital questions about this very issue?
Consider some of these.
- What are the 5 most important projects, that if I completed them (or made significant progress) they would bring my boss’s approval and myself a good sense of accomplishment, worthy of celebration?
- What are the 5 or 6 most important aspects of this holiday that will provide me and my loved ones the sense of unity, joy, or tradition I seek?
- Who and what is most important to ME here?
- And if I had my druthers, what would I like this time to be like? (Why not plan to do that-and skip the rest?)
- If this season usually brings you loneliness and depression, why not consider reaching out to others feeling similarly and build some new events and gatherings including them to enjoy?
- Or, what if I choose to help others more in need than me in some way? What feelings would that provide me?
- What if you answered the most important question of, what are the top 5 or 6 most important things that I want to be, do, and experience HERE during this holiday season and then focus on those things and leave the rest?
You really don’t have to do everything or compete with all the should, ought, must, have to’s you know. This season is meant to bring peace and joy not frenetic activity. Your co-workers and family would enjoy you more if you claim and maintain your sense of peace, calm and accomplishment and set your pace with realistic expectations.
Another important piece to the holiday puzzle is to plan something lovely to begin after New Year’s so you don’t fall into the after holidays shock or blues. Again, the question is what do I want then?
OK, so you take my advice and spend an hour or so to discover how you’d like to experience this next month, what happens if you find you still have way too much to do, that worry, overwhelm, and frenzy takes over your mind?
Yes, prioritize. Take a few more minutes and LIST EVERYTHING. You might have a list for work, another for family and friends, and one more just for YOU. Then compare the items on each list with each other, one to the next—compare item 1 to item 2, then item 1 to item 3, then item 1 to item 4, on down the list. In each comparison the question is if I can only have/do one of these, which do I choose? Make a check mark after ONLY ONE of them. Then continue this exercise comparing item 2 with item 1, then compare item 2 with item 3, then compare item 2 with item 4, on down the list, again checking off only ONE item each time—and yes you are duplicating some of the comparisons, this is on purpose. Continue this admittedly boring, time taking, though highly enlightening process and your list will easily show you what is most important to you by the number of check marks following each item. This is a way to discover your true priorities when that is unclear. (You can use this exercise anytime about anything you are unclear about or to clear feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.) If you find it difficult to choose which one, do ask yourself good questions like:
- Is this something I want, or is it what we always do, or is this someone else’s expectation of me?
- Is this something I cherish, enjoy or want the results of? “If you are going to do it–then CHOOSE IT!”
- How does this add to my sense of peace, calm, or accomplishment?
- Why do I want to do this?
- Who benefits?
- What happens if I don’t do this?
Once it becomes CLEAR what YOU would really like this holiday season to look like at home, with family, at work, then pick those top 5, 6, OK maybe even 10 things in each of those arenas and focus your time, energy, and attention on those things, and leave the rest. If those things are easily handled, accomplished, enjoyed, and you find you have more time on your hands; you can always go back to your lists again and add the next few higher priority items. And since they are already prioritized, what to choose next is readily evident.
I do know that, when you are feeling pushed, anxious, and overwhelmed, the thought of doing this exercise feels like it will add even more overwhelming feelings and you think you don’t “have time” to do this. I am here to tell you, that if you are truly in that state, you really don’t have time not to do this. Doing this will make a huge difference in reducing those anxious, frenetic, overwhelming feelings. Take the time out, your sanity and wellness and enjoyment are indeed worth this bit of time. In fact, you will actually gain time for fun and enjoyment by not engaging in lower priority (to you) activities.
Once your deliberate choices are made, then breathe, be in the moment, focus and set your intentions, and easily calmly and peacefully accomplish the most important year-end things at work, while also enjoying your personally chosen holiday preparations, events, and celebrations with new friends, family and people you love.
Bless you and may you enjoy a lovely holiday season!
PS: If you would like a tool to help reduce your experience of stress in the moment, email me at Alice@WhenNothingSeemstoWork.com and request a FREE stress reducing healing code. It really helps! Happy Holidays!