As a kid this was my favorite time of the year.
- Frilly, sparkly Christmas dresses that arched elegantly when I spun around.
- Shiny black, patent leather shoes that pinched my feet.
- 80’s curled hairstyles held together with Paul Mitchell hairspray,
- Holiday treats stolen from my Grandma’s table throughout the entire night while we waited to open presents.
- And of course, SANTA!!
The biggest stress I faced during the holiday season was gauging my moms mood as she held a curling iron in my fine, sometimes stringy, hair while she sighed heavily as she angrily reminded me, “Sit still. I’m having a hard time breathing life into this mop of yours.”
Even her back handed comment couldn’t burst the bubble I floated in during the holiday season. It truly was the most wonderful time of the year.
But as an adult….
There’s tree trimming, present purchases, party prep and family – lots and lots of family. And let’s not even mention the god forsaken Elf on The Shelf.
Yep! The holiday season means work and fancy schedule juggling.
All of this equates to MAJOR adult stresses.
My Holiday Season bubble popped LOUDLY, about 10 years ago. It’s just too much for me.
And, if I can be honest, I have found myself daydreaming about winter vacations to Phoenix just so I can skip the entire holiday season.
Surely I’m not alone with my Holiday Season Dread. So I have created you a list of ways to love yourself this holiday season.
At the peak of our Christmas Clusterf**k we were literally attending Christmas dinners for the entire month of December.
I kid you not, our first Christmas Dinner of the season was the first weekend of December with a gift exchange. And our last one was usually December 27! During the peak, we were consuming SEVEN holiday dinners.
It meant Christmas shopping was completed by November 30. It was crazy AND an absolute recipe for burnout. By the time the last piece of curly ribbon hit the recycle bin that year I nearly cheered with relief.
No more! We are now very stingy with our Christmas dinners. We do not attend Christmases for a month straight. It was not sustainable and, once again in honesty, not enjoyable for anyone.
2) Don’t attend every party you’re invited to
It seems like everyone we know has a holiday party. We could be kept very busy socially, if we RSVP’d yes to everyone.
But we have decided that’s not the way we want to spend our holidays. We are also choosy with these. It’s not personal, it’s just self preservation.
3) Don’t bake if you don’t want to
I’m not a baker. Or a cook really. I do it to keep my family alive, but I’m not going to win a “Canadian Cook Off” anytime soon.
Sometimes I will make brownies, but that’s because I’m picky about my brownies. Using my recipe will guarantee I will like them when they are done, unlike some of the results I have had from grocery store brownies. Blech!
The holidays are the most common time for Potlucks. You get asked to bring something: A dessert. A salad. A platter etc.
If you hate baking etc. BUY IT!! It’s more common than you think. Don’t put unneeded stress on yourself. Take shortcuts wherever you can.
3) Create Boundaries
There will be people who disrespect you. And it’s your job to decide how they will affect you. (Not only during the holidays, but all year long too)
Decide what you want to do about the way you’re being treated. There are times when standing in your power is necessary and times when this will create unnecessary drama and it’s best to walk away.
Decide and implement your boundaries. And don’t let anyone change your mind.
4) Don’t compare yourself to others
We all have the one person during the holidays who seems to own the best clothes or have the greatest hairstyles. Or is just plain adorable. She graces the doorsteps of any party and people swoon — wishing they could have her closet or her hair or her personality, even for just one day.
And quickly, you feel like you have ordered your clothes from the “Hillbilly Hoedown Holiday Edition Magazine”
So while you dress for your holiday party remember: You are perfect exactly as you are. Wear what makes you comfortable. Style your hair in a way that makes you happy. And most importantly, be YOU!
Going to an event in clothes or hairstyles you are uncomfortable wearing (or faking your way through the evening) will exhaust you faster than running a marathon in a snowsuit during a Sasky blizzard.
5) Observe without plugging in (This one is for all my empath friends)
As empaths we have the ability to FEEL everything. We know Susie had a fight with their husband on the way to the party. We know George hates his job. We know Grace is seriously over the top in love with her new BF!
AND we know exactly who, at the party, hates being at the party.
So what do you do when the everyone’s energy is so easily available to you and quickly you begin swirling in the emotion of it all?
Observe without plugging in.
What does that mean?
Just because you can see it doesn’t mean you need to form an opinion or create a solution in your head. Just observe it. Snuggle up with some wine and watch the show.
Don’t get invested in the outcome. Quite honestly, Susie’s fight with her husband is probably causing you more anxiety than it is to Susie. You may have spent more time analyzing Susie’s feelings than, even, Susie herself has. And there is no point wasting your time and energy on something that is none of your business.
Eventually you won’t even need to observe anymore. You will be able remain unplugged completely. But that can take time.
The Holiday Season can be fun again. Somehow we’ve allowed ourselves to get tumbled up in expectations of others which creates exhaustion. Allow yourself to create your holidays in a way that makes you happy. Find the balance.
Bonus Tip: You do not have to explain your balance to anyone. Just find the balance that makes you happy.
Let the festive season commence!