The holiday season is now in full swing. If you're anything like me, you probably have mixed feelings about the holidays. I love the excitement, parties, decorations, rituals, music, gifts, connections and more. However, even these fun things can wear on me. And the stress, drama, consumption, obligation, expense and more that often come along with this time of year are not on my list of "favorite things."
In addition, I often feel like I'm not doing enough, not on top of my "list," and I sometimes worry that I won't get everything done in time to make the people in my life happy the way I want to. Can you relate?
This year, especially with all that's going on around us in the economy and the world, what if we each made a commitment to appreciate the holiday season and enjoy the whole experience, regardless of our circumstances or any external pressure we may feel? Appreciating the holiday season, as with anything in life, will make it much more enjoyable and much less stressful.
Instead of rushing around in a high state of anxiety and worry about crossing every item off of our never-ending to-do list, we could choose another way, one that will make this holiday season enjoyable, fun and peaceful for us and those around us.
Here are a few things we can remember this holiday season to make things more fulfilling and less overwhelming:
- Take Responsibility for Your Experience.
It's important to remember that the stress we experience during the holiday season does not come from the holidays themselves, but from us. We're always the creators of our own experience, and the more we can remember this and live our lives from this perspective, the more empowered we are. When we stop thinking, speaking, and acting as if we're mere victims of holiday madness (or anything else in our lives for that matter), we can dramatically enhance our enjoyment and lower our stress.
We always have a choice about how we engage with anything. This holiday season we can choose to be annoyed by family members, obligations, forced work gatherings, crowds, prices or anything else, or we can choose to enjoy the magic and fun of this time of year. We may not always get to choose the people and circumstances around us, but we always have a choice about how we relate to them. Our experience of the holidays (and of life) is up to us, as it always is.
Consciously choose to focus on the things that you appreciate about the holiday season the most. Tell the truth about this to yourself and to those around you. If at all possible, don't participate in work or family gatherings out of obligation. But regardless of where you are, what you do or whom you are with, make a commitment to appreciate what's happening, the people around you and the many blessings of this season and in your life right now.
Even and especially when things are challenging, we always have so much to be grateful for. At this time of the year, we can take a step back, breathe deeply and experience the gratitude we have for our lives, the people in it and ourselves. If not now, then when?
While there are always things for us to do, gifts to buy, gatherings to attend and much more going on at this time of year, we can choose to make this holiday season one that is filled with authentic peace, gratitude and joy -- if we're willing to look for, find and focus on what we appreciate.
Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach and the bestselling author of "Focus on the Good Stuff" (Wiley) and "Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken" (Wiley). You can find more information at www.Mike-Robbins.com.