Jasper wishes you a very Merry Christmas 🙂
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
~ Lyrics from “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
I love the sentiment of this song, but I have to confess that I sometimes wonder “Who in the hell wrote this song and what planet did they come from? Don’t they know how stressful the holidays can be?”
During this season, our society is celebrating a time of peace, love and harmony. Unfortunately, these feelings are often steamrollered by the stress and overwhelm that arise when we try to create the perfect holiday experience.
Every year, I swear it will be different…that I will be different. I will be more organized, more inspired to make personal gifts, more peaceful and just generally perfect. (I know….it’s not realistic, but it’s honest.)
By the time Christmas comes around, I am often so preoccupied with last minute details that I lose sight of what I enjoy most about the season — spending time with my family and close friends.
This year, I decided to try a little different approach. I gave myself the gift of time by letting go of some of my holiday preparations, the ones that fit into the “nice but not absolutely necessary” category. So, I didn’t decorate my house or send out Christmas cards this year.
While I am a little sad that I didn’t do those things, I am more grateful for the time and peace of mind I gained from not doing them.
I often spend so much time trying to make the holidays nice for other people, that I forget to extend the same thoughtfulness to myself. And when I forget to take care of myself, I lose the ability to be present and enjoy the company of those I love most.
If you have reached this point in the holiday and feel tired and stressed, I am going to suggest that you let go of something non-essential on your preparation list and do something nice for yourself.
You may be thinking to yourself “What? There is nothing on my list that is not essential. I have to do ALL of these things.”
Here are 3 steps to giving yourself the gift of time this holiday:
1. Highlight any items on your to-do list that don’t make you feel totally and ridiculously happy when you think about doing them.
As you look at each item, pay attention to how your body feels inside. Does your body feel tense and tight, or light and happy?
If you feel tense and tight, something about that item needs to change. I recommend using a technique called “Bag It, Better It, Barter It”, which I discussed here.
2. Create a “feeling picture” of what it would be like to relax and do something nice for yourself.
Close your eyes and think about what it would be like to do something that you really enjoy and/or that helps you relax. Pay attention to how you feel in your body. Hopefully you feel really good 🙂
Now imagine those happy feelings radiating out to those around you like rays of sunshine. Now imagine these rays of happy feeling spreading peace and happiness to those around you, too.
This is a key step! Rather than being selfish, taking care of yourself allows you to share positive, peaceful energy with those around you.
3. Use a mantra to ward off any guilty feelings that tempt you into putting something non-essential back on your to-do list.
I like “I give myself permission to be present right now” or “I am enough right now”. Have a mantra will help to recenter you in the present, which helps to ward off anxious thoughts about what you “should” be doing.
A mantra can also help to start rewiring your brain to help keep you focused on what’s important to you, rather than getting stuck in a cycle of worry and anxiety.
With the extra space you have on your schedule, I recommend you do something “time decadent”, meaning something that you would normally say you don’t have time to do. Especially if that “something” is doing nothing at all.
Whatever you choose, I hope you savor every moment of your gift to yourself. You are worth it!
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday 🙂
PS- Share your time decadent gift to yourself in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas!