December 1, 2010
How to Feel Good Instead of Hassled
Once you attend to what the spirit of the holidays means to you, and then commit to activating that spirit especially by positive example, you will have less hassles and more enjoyment.
The Holiday Spirit
The “holidays” in America stretches from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, and includes Hanukah, Christmas, Muharram, and Kwanzaa. Whatever your beliefs, it is a time for gratitude, self-reflection, generosity, and celebration. If you are fortunate, family time may be easily pleasant and peaceful. Many folks, however, experience some mild disturbance or outright mayhem. You can be a force for peace.
Mental and Spiritual Preparation
It’s wise to plan. Don’t take on too much by overdoing shopping or visitations. Focus on being reasonable, instead of letting the social swell and family pressure hijack your Day Planner and holiday mood. Review the spirit of the holidays and how you and your loved ones can ride that wave instead. There is no need to numb yourself with alcohol and food. Plan your schedule with the help of significant others, and reading and listening to inspirational media, while enjoying the festive experiences as well.
Here are some of the most important “don’ts.” Don’t make the holidays a time for a major relationship repair with a troublesome family member. If the idea comes to you, plan a repair time soon into the new year. Don’t allow yourself to be lured into a negative reaction or argument. Plan what you are going to peacefully say or do or think when your cranky son or obnoxious Uncle Harry pushes your buttons. Don’t allow yourself to deal in depth with a sad loss. Process it briefly and plan another time to deal with it as you need. To everything there is a season, and this season is meant for you to be as upbeat as you can and as you deserve.
You—A Model of Peace and Pleasantness
If you practice living in the moment and seeing all that there is for you to enjoy, you will be a great model for all your friends and family. And don’t sweat it if they all don’t follow your lead. Meanwhile, if there is something that you yourself have already done that has been unpleasant, make quick amends today—in person, by phone or email—and schedule a time for deeper repair if needed. Then express your intention for the other person to have a great holiday.
More Holiday Guideline Do’s
Here are some other things to do to make the holidays more enjoyable:
- Celebrate the Gifts You Have, especially the people you love, and the intangibles of affection, laughter, and health.
- Celebrate the Message of the season as it means to you, stressing the spiritual side of peace, love, redemption, and renewal.
- Make It About Others. The more you are the emissary of support and goodwill, the better you will feel about yourself and the season.
- Get Support. Assemble the allies you want to help make things go more smoothly, and to nudge you back on track should you wander.
- Be Assertive with those you need to guide or set limits with, but avoid being arrogant, mean-spirited, and overly serious. You are centered.
- Have Realistic Expectations. On the one hand, don’t expect that some troubled folks are going to always be reasonable and balanced. And…
- Have Positive Expectations on the other hand. Expect and promote the best in others. As the expression goes, “You never know.”
- Get Perspective, a reminder that many others are worse off, and that holiday disappointments are not the end of the world for you.
- Manage Stress. Get some exercise; eat healthy; rest well. Get some pockets of solitude and meditation time.
- Expect Your Competence. Anticipate that you are smart, strong, and creative, and that you can handle expected or unexpected hassles.
The Holiday Bottom Line: Good practice of even one guideline will perk up the holidays. Think realistic, optimistic, and minimalistic, and then set up your action and reaction plan for a season that will be pleasant to remember.
To find peace and goodwill during the holidays, take these practical steps:
1st Pick one or two of the suggestions, and write down a brief, specific plan of action. Decide when you will implement, and schedule as needed.
2nd Find others—friends, relatives, and disadvantaged people—who can use your help. Plan on having a talk with someone, and serving those less fortunate.
3rd Stretch out the spirit of Thanksgiving throughout the holidays, reminding yourself daily of the gifts you enjoy and may take for granted. Journal your gratitude by writing what you are specifically thankful for.