Stress-free holidays? No such thing! For some, the holidays are filled with happiness, excitement and joy. But for a lot of people this time of year brings with it a great deal of stress. Christmas comes with financial pressure, family obligations and relationship drama. For those who have lost someone this year (or ever) there are hints of grief and sadness. For those of us whose family is far away there is always a feeling of missing something, no matter how full and happy our lives are.
I often wonder why is it that this time of year is so hard for so many people. And I figured out that it all comes down to being too caught up in our expectations of what the holidays should look, feel, sound like. The reason we feel financial pressure is because we are expected to buy gifts. It’s what you do. Families have expectations about who does what, where and how. We are expected to dress up, act happy and not drink too much. We are meant to decorate, keep the lights on, have big meals and drink eggnog.
Partners expect thoughtful gifts, maybe a proposal?
If you really think about it…
We are so focused on what the holidays should be that we miss out on what they could be.
And what they could be is…just another day.
We’ve had stress-free days. We can have stress-free holidays.
If you are a Christian, please do not take that to mean that Christmas is not special. I know it has a special meaning for you. I think. But nothing is stressful inherently, from it’s own side. The only reason things are stressful is we make them so. So we may start to think that if we had more money we wouldn’t feel financial pressure. Maybe if our family got along and no one had problems the holidays would be like in the movies. Maybe if we had a partner, or had a better one then we wouldn’t feel lonely. And we would be right. But I promise you, all those thing alone do not guarantee happiness.
Because happiness is inside your mind, not outside.
I know a lot of unhappy people who have it all.
Our negative minds are sneaky. Even for me. If I don’t watch my mind, I can feel my thoughts taking me down a dangerous path. And I know where that path leads. Disappointment, depression, feeling sorry for myself.
So…this holiday season, I can focus on the fact that I don’t get to see my family and feel down. Or I can realize that actually that is not any different from the other 360 days of the year. December is just a name. Nothing has changed. Christmas morning is just a morning and New Year’s Eve is still way past my bedtime.
So the key to stress-free holidays is to realize they are special as much as they are mundane.
The key to stress-free holidays is to understand we hold the key to peace and happiness inside our mind. Our thinking can turn anything into anything. Because all there really is out there is mere name. Everything else is the meaning we attach to it.
Who says you can’t give the holidays a whole new meaning?
Who says you have to buy a gift? How about making one? Or whatever happened to giving love and peace and consideration and your precious time? Not just for the holidays. All the time. In fact, the best thing we can give someone is to cherish them, to wish them well, to give them a moment of joy. That doesn’t cost a thing. No pressure there. Just pure joy.
But for that to happen we have to put our expectations and wishes to the side and just enjoy whatever is right in front of us. Just enjoy.
Here’s to stress-free holidays and a stress-free 2018!