So we’ve spent a lot of time removing your shoulds and changing as many of your needs into wants. If you’re just joining us, you can catch up by reading the Day 1 blog post here or downloading the worksheet here.
Hopefully by now you have a really good sense of what your perfect, dreamy, stress free holiday would look like. Now here’s the bad news….That’s probably not how it’s going to go.
You can get close and the more clear you are on what you want, the easier this whole “be realistic” thing will be.
So my husband hates this phrase. He’s definitely the dreamer in our family. And I love that about him, but it can lead to some really disappointing moments if we haven’t talked about whats realistic. Realistic in terms of what we are capable of and what others are capable of. Dreaming is good. Wants are important. But you are a human dealing with other humans and that’s where things get messy.
So here’s the deal. I want you to look at your wants. What is the theme? What is the one or two things that your wants all have in common?
Alright, I want you to get really committed to whatever it is on your want list that is showing up. Pick just one or two things, more than that can be hard to commit to.
Here are some themes that I’ve heard from others through this process:
- Be still, don’t get so caught up in business of the holiday that I’m too tired to enjoy it, be still and enjoy the little things, be still so I can enjoy those really sweet moments that I’m often too busy to notice
- Give, time and resources to those that need it, homeless, elderly, the food bank, my church
- Low/No Stress, identify the things that are really important to me, don’t get caught up in the things that are not important, eliminate stress from the holidays
- Play, be a kid again for the holidays
- Nourish, myself, my family by eating healthy and balanced through the holidays
- Move, don’t let the stress of the holidays get me away from my time at the gym, at yoga, etc. Use exercise to help balance out the stress of the holidays
- Be grateful, spending time telling loved ones exactly what I am grateful for, reflect on all that I have to be grateful for through quiet time or journaling
- Receive, let others help make Christmas dinner, cook, clean, host, etc. Let my kids help make cookies and other recipes, even if they make a mess. Explore all the ways I can receive love, gifts, help and the holiday spirit.
- Connect, connect with my loved ones, friends and family. Be realistic about who I can really connect with and spend time with them.
Alright, so let’s say your theme is low stress and connecting with your loved ones. The reality is, holidays can be stressful. Maybe your in-laws are crazy, pushy, loud and unaware. Your mom always over commits and over does and then has a melt down when things don’t go well.
Maybe your brother always drinks to much to deal with your family. Your kids hate to dress up. You have 50 million places to go and visit between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (or at least it feels like it).
Sounds like a lot of stress and little to no connection.
So you have a choice, you can stay committed to your wants or you can let others determine your holiday.
Now I’m not saying to just ignore what’s going on but you can both acknowledge that whatever is going wrong is going wrong AND you can not stress about it as well.
You can know that your mom is going to have a melt down because things aren’t perfect and you can let her know that you see how much she cares and appreciate everything she does but you do not have to get wrapped up in her version of crazy. You don’t have to fix it for her.
See connected and low stress. Easier said than done, yes, but possible.
Okay, but what about crazy, pushy in-laws? So this one is helpful if your partner is on board, but you have a couple of choices. You can show up, knowing that they are going to show up exactly as they are. You can re-frame their version of crazy as the way the show love. Also crazy, yes, but when they hit the crazy button you can re-frame it as, oh that is how they know how to show love. It may not be how you show love, it may not even be entirely healthy or productive, but that’s who they are and what they know.
Your other options with crazy in-laws is to set boundaries ahead of time. If something they say or do doesn’t work for you, address it before the holiday. Let them know that you’re really committed to a low stress holiday, or whatever it is that you are committed to, and that (fill in the blank) doesn’t work for you anymore and that you’d appreciate if they could make an effort not to do that. Or you can be really brave and announce that you’re doing the holidays differently this year and you’d be so happy/excited/grateful if they could participate in this new celebration.
Addressing it before the holiday let’s them know the expectation and can lower some of the stress of the holiday.
And if its too close to the holidays, maybe make some suggestions this year, for how you want next year to be. Sometimes it takes baby steps and a lot of pre-planning to get what you want.
Again easier said than done, but I promise, after it’s done, you will feel better and your holiday will be more aligned with what you desire. How many times after the holidays are over have you asked yourself “Why do we do that?” Or said “I never want to do that again!”
What I’m saying is that when we can make space for both our fears and desires, knowing that they will both show up, life becomes more balanced. When we are present with our fears and desires we can be present to what is. When we can be present to what is and not the way we think things should be life can surprise us in some pretty amazing ways.
That is what this whole process has been about. Looking at fears and desires. I should do this or I’m afraid that “x” will happen. I need to do this or so and so will think something bad about me. I really want a low stress holiday. I really want to feel connected to my family and friends. Fears and desires. Both real, both important. We need to pay attention to both, decide what’s really important and know that both are going to show up.
When you can be balanced in your fears and desires you power to be present and stay present is magnified. Knowing where you are in your fears and desires allows you to show up honestly, with a full heart and experience your life in a richer way. When you know what you want and you can stay committed to you wants while also being balanced in your fears and desires…that my dear, is where magic happens.
Here is to a magical Holiday season, to addressing your fears and desires head on and being ever present with both.
Remember, these tools are essential to living a life you desire all year long. Use this process next time you are stuck feeling something you “should” do and see how easy it can be to balance your fears and desires around it.
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