“Love is what’s in the room with you during the holidays when you stop opening presents and listen.”~UnknownAre you beginning to have flashbacks from last year’s holiday season that sends tremors down your spine? This holiday season can be different! All it takes is for you to make a mindful decision as to how you want to celebrate. You have a choice whether to buy into the gross commercialism of the season or redefine what it means to you.How Can You Do This? Sit down, take some deep breaths and quiet your mind. As you are sitting, just deepen into your breathing. Quiet your mind and create a vision of what a joyful holiday season looks and feels like.Taking Steps – Once you have created your vision, think about the steps you need to take to have it come to fruition.Here are some steps to contemplate: Give Of Yourself- Instead of focusing on what material things you can give to loved ones and friends think of how you can give of yourself. What could you do to be fully present in the lives of others throughout the year? Maybe you could commit to reading a bedtime story to your child every night, putting a date night on your calendar with your husband or partner or going grocery shopping for your elderly parent once a week.
Volunteer- To reconnect with the meaning behind the holidays volunteer at a local food bank, shelter, hospital, or visit a shut in.Limit commitments- To lessen holiday burn out decide how many events and celebrations you are willing to attend. Only you know what your saturation point is. If family is involved, hold a family meeting and make a joint decision. If you have difficulty saying no, begin to memorize some quick responses that you can make. For example, “Thank you for the invite, I’ll be there in spirit but will not be able to attend.”Dealing with Difficult Relatives- Before visiting difficult relatives, consider how you want to react to them. You can’t change their behavior but can decide how you want to relate to them. If you’ve had unpleasant experiences in the past, think about why they were unpleasant and what you could do to change the dynamics of the situation.Sending out cards- If you find that sending out physical cards is overwhelming you can switch to e-holiday cards or decide to send out cards to a selected number of family and friends.Reducing Your Time in the Kitchen- If you are hosting a large holiday gathering have guests bring a favorite dish. To avoid duplication, assign selected dishes to bring. Consider purchasing pre- made food or making some dishes ahead of time and freezing them.Shop Online – If you still feel you want to give some gifts, the days of fighting holiday crowds are over. You can now shop online from the comfort of your own home and have your gifts shipped directly to another person.
Stick to A budget – Prior to going holiday shopping, determine what you budget is going to be and stick to it. Remind yourself of the meaning of the holidays.Gift Wrapping-To reduce holiday wrapping time use gift bags or shop at stores that provide free gift wrapping.Find Reasons To Be Grateful. Studies show that gratitude creates inner joy. During the holidays, think of what you have to be grateful for and focus on that.Creating a joyous holiday season is possible in this day and age. All it takes is for you to slow down and connect with your Inner Self. The answers are within you. Honor them, celebrate them and savor the joy of the holiday season!
Melinda P. Neisser, MS, CDCP is the owner of Path Seekers Life Coaching. web: pathseekerslifecoaching .com She attended the Deep Coaching Institute and holds a B.S.W.in Social Work and a M.S. in Human Resource Management from Widener University.