We already know that the holidays bring on more emotional, physical, financial stress than perhaps any time of the year. It's the season for frantic, over indulgent behavior, that we try so hard to not get caught up in. But sometimes it just happens. The unavoidable family get together, that only happens once a year because your family is dysFUNctional in a not so fun way. The office x-mas party, where you promised you wouldn't drink more than two glass of champagne goes south real quick, and you drink more than your fair share. The friendly get together at your best friends house, turns into a drunken gossip fest of negativity. The last purchase you go to make at the mall, your beautiful piece of plastic is declined. You bought 3 sparkling boxes of gourmet chocolates, only to find your dog sick on the kitchen floor because you forgot to take them off the counter...Off to the vets, one more little bill for the plastic. It's inevitable, the holidays take most of us to levels we would rather forget, and promise for another year, we won't go there again! It's truly a heartful attempt to keep ourselves under control, and live a life based more on simplicity and kindness. So for goodness sake, be gentle on yourself this season and get prepared to keep on track with little reminders that even if we slip, it truly isn't the end of the world.
If you feel yourself getting tangled up in the x-mas light web of craziness, give yourself a few moments to re-connect before you lose it and go any further into the chaos. We all know realize that when we become overwhelmed, we do one of two things..
1) Scream out loud to anything or anyone within hearing distance.
2) Bottle it all up, and become internally miserable. (Which those closest to you, do suffer for)
A little holiday preventative measures go a long ways to keeping you sane and your loved ones wanting to spend time with you this spectacular holiday season. Here are 5 very little but effective tools you can use to keep yourself aware of how YOU are holding up this season.
It's all in the PREvention, staying one step ahead of the game that will keep you enjoying YOUR holiday season!
1) I'm a huge fan of partnering up! Get your friends on board this year, and hold each other accountable. This works great if you have 2-3 friends that you can call ahead of time to let know when your going shopping, to the office party, or looking for the perfect New Year's dress. Let them know what your doing, when your going, expected time of return, what your purchases are going to be, or what you are hoping to accomplish. Have them send you a text every hour or so to see where your at. That way if you are getting frustrated, getting ready to go overboard on purchases, getting stressed, you can connect back with them and re-gain some control before either continuing on, or heading home and calling it a day. It's a sure fire way to help each other remain debt free, stress free, and from having an emotional freak out!
2) Don't want to bug your friends ~ Use your cell. Set alarms to go off with little reminders every hour. Have them say uplifting mantras and reminders so your continuously aware of what your accomplishing.
3) The happy lollipop ~ I like candy's I can suck on, because it's like a mindful, stay in the present technique I use to use when I was having gall bladder attacks. In a way almost like Lamaze, instead of having a visual focus point to keep you centered, your focus point is to concentrate on the candy, happily rolling around in your mouth. Savor the flavor, the scent, the feeling you have for the few minutes it takes to eat the candy. In those few minutes it works similar to a mindful breathing meditation only with a festive treat. While eating your candy, breathe in the negative thoughts, swirl that minty, gingerbread, or cinnamon flavor around and exhale out leaving you only happy thoughts of what the holidays truly mean to you. The festive flavors and scents of the season are a constant reminder of what you are trying to stay true to this holiday.
4) Rewards ~ Let's admit we all like them. They are great incentives to stay on track. If your goal is to get 1/2 your x-mas shopping done. Prepare that list of whom your shopping for, next to their name a list of ideas. When your done with your list, at the top write ~ REWARD: Then scribble in what you are going to do for YOU, if you successfully get through your list without becoming a holiday scrooge to everyone you meet! It's great to get your shopping done, but if it's done at the expense of making every holiday sales associate miserable in the process, poor behavior is what we are trying to avoid. So give yourself a reason to keep it nice!
5) If your like me, sometimes things get out of hand.... My brain shuts down, blood starts pumping, and I can literally feel the temperature rising to the point I want to blow. My last resort to restore my sanity..and yup you could get some weird looks. But hey it's the holidays and we all get a bit crazy. It's just nicer when the crazy is by choice, rather than mental overload and snapping! Choice, choice, choice..Be prepared to make the choice to let it all out if you have too! If it's getting to the point where I'm ready to blow, I quickly walk back to my car, drive it to the far end of the parking lot, turn up the radio and scream. Windows up of course!! Then I take out my little sparkly notebook and I scribble as fast as my hand will go, why the heck I'm losing it! I write how I feel, what's not working and how I can get myself back under control and to that happy, peaceful space I so desire. If I don't think it's going to happen today, then I write that, I forgive myself for not keeping my shit together and acknowledge that at-least my behavior didn't effect some one else's day. The bottom line for me during the season, is to find that place of peace and let it shine where ever I am.
Being prepared and being aware is half the battle. Have a plan of action, even more helpful when friends are involved. Learning ways to express frustration and stress in healthy ways benefits everyone we encounter on a daily basis. With the added hectic schedules of the holiday season it's easy to get caught up in the craziness and let our simple tools go to the way side. Before you head out the door, get your head in the right space to begin with, and not only will you have a much more pleasant holiday season, but those around you will be eternally grateful as well...Share the peace everyone!