So what now? Are you excited about the joy and memories that the next few days will bring? Or are you simply relieved to be off work for a few days, but dreading the manic craziness of the Christmas season?
Many people see Christmas as a time for added stress - here you are, with perhaps two weeks off, and your thoughts turn to the planning, the overwhelm, the expectations, the finances, the things yet to do and buy, the people you spend all year avoiding that you now have to see and how overweight or tired you'll be by the end of it!
Today you can set your intentions and focus so that you can thrive this holiday and enjoy it as it's meant be:
1) If it's not done, don't worry about it. There's the saying that goes, 'those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind'. So you've run out of the perfect wrapping paper, you forgot to buy the brandy snaps, you didn't send a card to your cousin (sorry cuz) - these things just add to the stress as we look at all we didn't do! Let's switch focus, to how thoughtful you are, how you did the best you could, and how your family are just happy that you're here...even if you did forget the brandy snaps!
2) Laugh. If it's not perfect, that's perfect for you! Laugh about it. Embrace the games that get wheeled out at this time of year, take part, and laugh if you lose. Laugh about that gift that doesn't quite fit, and laugh about the presents being wrapped in old newspapers! It's the thought that counts after all!
3) Be thankful. Practicing gratitude is the key to happiness, and at this time of year it's especially important. We set our expectations so high - not just on others, but on ourselves. It has to be perfect, and if it's not it means we're not. It doesn't. At this time of year in our ever increasing consumer society the focus can be on the 'not enough'; not enough food on the table, not enough money spent, not enough thought given, not enough people in the room... you get the drift! Whatever is in your life, be grateful that you have it; health; work; family; friends; opportunity; a roof over you head... be thankful for what you do have, and you will get even more of it.
4) Be two logical levels ahead. Christmas can be a time of year where we have to see some members of the family that perhaps we would rather not. Firstly, we don't have to do any such thing. Let's be honest here, if you are spending time with a family member that you perhaps don't connect with as much as you'd like to, there is some feedback to pay attention to. If you would like to have a better connection, work out how you can make that happen, if you think you have to do it, work out according to whom - perhaps you are doing this is because it's important to another family member who is more important to you...so focus on them and making sure their Christmas is actually made happier for it! You turning up with an attitude is not going to make them happy. The simple fact is, you control your actions and reactions. So set your intentions, how would you like the day to go, take that picture and attitude with you and you may be surprised at how things work out. When you anticipate that someone will be a pain to spend some time with you can either go expecting that (ensuring it will happen) or you can go expecting that and knowing how you can react differently (ensuring you are two logical levels ahead of them and changing the outcome). Just try it!
5) Plan some 'me' time. With all the time off coming up it is easy to believe you must cram in all the things that others expect of you. But what do you really want? 'Me' time is commonly associated with alone time, but it doesn't have to be. What do you really want to do? Want some time to yourself, with a loved one, or your immediate family unit, then you must create it. It's OK to say no; simply say it nicely, explain what you want (not what you don't want) and get planning...make sure you do it though. You are a priority, a goal without action is simply a dream, so make it happen!
6) See it for what it is, for you. The media and movies will have us believe that this season is all about family and romance, providing you with the perfect excuse to hold a Christmas pity party for one if these things are not in your life. Stop it! Christmas can be anything you want it to be; want to feel part of a family, go do some volunteer work; want to experience love, love yourself first. This is a time of year that people allow themselves to wish others well, seasons greetings are every where and it can be easy to imagine that you are the only one alone, the only one who has to work, the only one who doesn't connect with all the family you do have. Well, it's time to tell yourself a different story. Every one of us has special, unique qualities, we are all capable of giving and receiving love, but if Christmas for you means a nice chilled out day in front of the TV with a box of Twiglets, embrace it, if it means working on something you love love it, and if you have the time to help others do it. There are no rules for Christmas so if you have some time off decide what you want to do with it, what will make you most happy, and see it for what it is for you.
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