As the holidays are barreling around the corner, I don't know about you, but I begin to feel a twitch of panic mounting - OMG, not yet, I haven't even begun to create the insurmountable holiday To-Do Lists. I think I'm setting myself up for failure without even realizing it.
And every year I make myself the same promise...I'm not going down the crazy path, I'm not getting caught up in the vortex...this year, I intend to bring forth conscious giving to myself and others. So without reciting an array of platitudes, what does that really mean anyway? That may mean something differently to all of us.
You know that feeling when you receive a heartfelt gift - a beautifully written card and something that was chosen specifically with you in mind? It's not about the cost or the size, it's about the energy in which it was given and most importantly - how it made you feel. Can you recall that feeling of being truly touched by something? Can you recall the satisfaction of finding the perfect gift for another?
The reality is that hardly any of us truly needs another new sweater or tchotchke to clutter up the place. Instead we need down time, self-care, restorative time with our families and to find ways to gift to self and others that impart meaning.
During the holidays, we don't need to create more to do - to the contrary, we need to create more space for gatherings with family and friends, sharing meals, sharing time, sharing ourselves.
Holidays are a time to indulge in the things that restore us rather than deplete us.
We don't have to fall in line and do things the way we always have regardless of the expectations of others. Whether thinking about the holidays makes you feel warm and fuzzy as you bask in visions of sugar plum fairies, or it digs up darker emotions of loneliness and disconnect - you can do this differently.
So how do you design a holiday season that allows you to tap into your best self: to replenish yourself with laughter and celebration instead of frenetic, obligatory over-spending and over-tasking yourself? How do we give ourselves permission to break free from the patterns we have adhered to for years and pave a new path?
What would it look like and feel like to you?
Ask yourself these few questions before hopping on the holiday crazy-train:
• When I think of the holidays, what is the first thing that comes up - a sense of anxiety or anticipation? A sense of to-do lists or relaxation?
• When I think of shopping / gift-giving - does it bring up a feeling of obligatory drudgery or does a feeling of joy emerge?
• When I think of my personal finances - Do I find myself over-spending only to later beat myself up as I review January credit card bills, or do I calmly spend within my means?
And if you could rescript this (and you can), how about trying these on for size (raise your right hand and repeat after me):
• I design my holidays.
• I commit to doing what restores me, including self-care.
• I gift myself quality time with friends and family.
• I consciously choose my gifts - gifts of meaning, things that make me feel good and will bring meaning to others (perhaps that is something I create, something I buy locally, something that inspires).
• I gift only that which feels aligned with my promises (no over-spending, no obligatory gifting, no over-scheduling, no over-indulging).
So -- that holiday train is pulling out the station and there's no stopping it, but remember you get to decide which car you are hopping on. And another thing -- doing what is best for you, is ultimately what is best for others. When we care for ourselves, we are able to care for those around us and to continue on the path of living in alignment with who we were meant to be -- living purposefully, passionately and with great vitality. So get your best self holiday on -- no bah-humbugs allowed!
Get more inspiration and your free Accountability Cleanse at Kristennoel.com