Holidays have a funny tendency to stir up the DRAMA in a lot of us. We obsess over parties, procrastinate on our shopping, get nervous about seeing (or not seeing) certain family members, plus travel plans and the year-end frenzy can make us frantic. This time of year can just be down-right stressful. Drizzle in alcohol and pile on sugar, and you’re primed for DRAMA.
But, you know, it doesn’t have to be that way.
You pick how you want your holiday season to be this year. Here are a few simple tips to help you out.
Plan to do only the things that will actually be fun and peaceful for you. So much of the time we are busy trying to meet other people’s expectations and fulfill their demands. We don’t want to hurt feelings so we compromise our own to please others. That’s not very fun or self-honoring, which is the gateway to DRAMA. This year, consider doing something completely different — like a “Friends-mas Eve” — that will bring you great pleasure in a calm and highly satisfying way.
Set your intentions in advance.
Perhaps you’ve already made commitments to that you feel the need to fulfill. That’s groovy; you can still do them sans DRAMA. Set an intention in advance about how you want to be in that situation. Clarify what your boundaries are for time spent and the amount of interaction that’s good for you. And if you know you’re easy to sway, set up a structure to hold you accountable to your intention — like somewhere else you have to be, or certain one-liner word choices that will help you communicate what you need when the moment hits.
Get help. If you know you tend to get overwhelmed with projects or hosting, delegate certain tasks to others and ask for help. Get a commitment so you know who to count on for what. Use direct language so there’s no confusion about what you’re requesting: “I need help with blah-blah-blah. Will you ___?” They can say yes or no or make a counter offer, but at least then you know what to expect and how to organize yourself.
Carve out time to finish shopping a few days early.
Seriously. You do not want to be at the mall on the last day of shopping. It’s a zoo. Unless you really like waiting in lines at registers and idling in your car for an hour just to get out of the parking lot, get it done now. If you have to be there at the last minute, go with a full tank of gas and pack snacks.
Step outside of old traditions when they don’t work anymore.
Holiday traditions can be a lot of fun and feel really enjoyable. And then there are some that have run their course and are just being revived for the sake of “but we always…” I’m not sure which film it was, but I once heard a Woody Allen character say that “tradition is the illusion of permanence.” You don’t have to make Grandma’s old fruitcake recipe that is laborsome and nobody really likes anyway, just because you’ve always done it. Perhaps you might try something new in its place this year — something more yummy and fun.
Don’t worry about your diet, but do watch your biochemical balance.
Alcohol and sugar, my friend. They can wreak havoc on a perfectly fine holiday soiree. The ways in which they muck with your brain chemistry and physiology can impact your mood and make you more prone to reactiveness, less inhibited with your words or behavior, and more likely to revert to old dynamics and childhood roles in family settings. Have enough to enjoy and still keep yourself in check. And over the season as a whole, eat healthy foods consistently and the indulgences occasionally; this will help keep your blood sugar stable overall, which also helps keep you happier and more fun for the people around you.
Keep it simple. Really.
Spend your energy the way you want. Follow what feels good to you. Decide what you can let go of or do later. Life is supposed to be fun and easy, and that includes this time of year. Pick the most important stuff and focus on that. Everything else can wait.
Have a blessed season. Be safe. Let it be fun and easy. And enjoy the wealth that surrounds you!