That time of year is upon us again! It's the holiday season. The leaves have fallen from the trees, decorations are going up, and our mailbox is suddenly full of catalogs. I have to admit I love this time of the year, especially now that I am a mom. There is nothing better than the joy and wonder of a young child to bring the magic back. However, I also know how easy it can be for the stress and overwhelming to-do list to start to skyrocket as we tackle the commitments and responsibilities that come with the holiday season.
Buying gifts, making food, decorating the house, deciding who to visit, organizing travel, work and social commitments, school events and parties... The truth is, as moms we often end up being the ones shouldering the majority of these added responsibilities at this time of year. When we already feel stretched for time in our lives, it can be easy to start to feel like we are spinning out of control.
The result is that we don't get to experience the true joy and fulfillment of the season: we are too busy making sure we are meeting everyone's expectations (including our own). But as moms, we deserve to find the time to relax, put our feet up and give ourselves permission to truly enjoy the holiday season.
Through my own trials and tribulations over past holiday seasons here are my 5 biggest tips on how to avoid the end-of-year burnout and feel inspired and reenergized for the New Year. You owe it to yourself!
Tip #1: Know Your Holiday Values
This is the first step in making sure we experience the most fulfillment and happiness in anything we do in our lives. As you enter this holiday season take time to ask "What are my top three to five important values for the holiday season?" Are they family, fun, giving, relaxing, financial responsibility, creativity, gratitude, peace, kindness or excitement? These values will provide the foundation for which you approach the holiday season.
Tip #2: Set Your Holiday Priorities
Now thatyou have a list of your most important values you can use them as a guide to set your priorities for the holiday season. For example, if your value is "family" then you may prioritize creating time for fun activities with your kids such as making decorations, baking, going to the park or whatever you enjoy doing the most with your family. If "gratitude" is high on your value list, you might decide to create a tradition with your family over the holiday season where you find ways to share what you are grateful for. If it is "giving", you may focus on ways you and your family can give back to the community during this time.
When you create priorities based on your values, it provides you with the guideline for how you truly want to spend your time over the holiday season versus what you think you "should" be doing.
Tip #3: Create Holiday Boundaries
The reality is that during this time of the year there will mostly likely be more demands on your time than what you can give. If we try to meet all these demands, or others expectations it sets us up for feeling not "good enough" or like we have failed in some way. The key is to set boundaries and be confident in saying no.
This can be very very hard at this time of year. That's why it's essential we are clear on our values and priorities. Then we have a strong foundation we can use as a compass for making decisions and when to say yes if it’s in line with our core values and priorities and when to say no.
Tip #4 Get Clear on Your Holiday Thoughts
One of the most powerful influences on our emotions, how we feel, and the actions we take are our thoughts. As we enter the holiday season take the time to gain clarity on any thoughts you have about this time of year. If you start to feel stressed stop, breath and ask why am I feeling stressed right now?
Often stress is triggered by underlying feelings, such as we are not doing a good enough job, we are not meeting others or ours expectations, feelings of failure or we should be able to do better. When we are able to identify these powerful often unconscious core thoughts we then have the power to change them. We can choose to replace them with thoughts that make us feel successful, confident and good enough. For example, reminding yourself you are making the best choices you can to be in integrity with your greatest values and priorities over the holiday season.
Tip #5 Let Go
One of the best ways we can release and reduce our stress is learning to let go. Letting go of our tendency to be so attached to the outcomes. Letting go of the need for things to be perfect. When we are so focused on the outcome and perfection, it is difficult to enjoy the moment.
For example, when we're choosing gifts for someone we might feel worry or concern over whether they will like the gesture, or if it is the "perfect" gift. As a result it can be hard to fully enjoy the process of giving. Or we may experience stress about choosing what family to visit and when over the holidays. As a result we are so worried that we have upset someone, we never completely enjoy who we have chosen to spend time with.
When we make decisions based on our deepest values and priorities and learn to say no to those that don't is the moment we can give ourselves permission to "let go." Knowing that we are living in integrity with who we are at the core no matter what the outcome might be.
What are you ready to "let go" of this holiday season so you can free yourself to experience the true joy and fulfillment of this time of the year with your family? I'd love to hear your comments below.
For more tips visit The Passion Shift.
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