The holidays are once again upon us. Thanksgiving comes first at a nice pace, those early decorations start popping up, and then you hear that initial Christmas carol. But after that, things start ganging up on us: crowded stores, long lines, obligatory parties, gift exchanges, family gatherings, and overspending on an already anemic budget. This is where people start thinking, “Whoa, whoa, whoa” instead of ho, ho, ho.”
Avoid the mental maze of the “holidaze.” You can put the skids on those negative impulses; no shopping rage for you! Yes, Virginia, you can make your holidays more cheery and festive instead of chaotic and frustrating with a little bit of awareness and a lot of fortitude.
1. When you head for the mall, prepare yourself with a “reality bite.” There will be traffic, people, and few choice parking spots. There will be lines, too, but getting cranky about these inconveniences won’t thin the herd or make those lines move faster. Turn waiting time into rejuvenating time: smile, regroup, take a relaxing breath, imagine your favorite vacation spot, check your shopping list, visualize your next good meal, or do a few toe taps to renew your energy.
2. Restrain your gift buying. If you’ve been affected by the economy, instead of overextending, choose gifts that reflect thoughtfulness. Consider “gifts of self” for those you love involving “together time” instead of physical possessions. Price tags can’t be placed on gifts that include a personal dimension.
3. For workplace gifts, consider charity donations. If you exchange names at work, find out what charity your recipient most values and make a donation in their name. With this approach, everybody wins.
4. If you must deal with cranky customers at work, remember that this too shall pass. These irritating individuals may be grappling with grim circumstances. Be grateful you only serve them and don’t have to go home with them.
5. For family visits, put a soft lens on your heart so you can perceive your loved ones with compassion instead of criticism (if they haven’t changed by now they probably never will). Be grateful you don’t have to go home with them, either.
6. For the entire season, slow your pace when you drive, walk, and talk. Don’t get swept up in the rush; be an observer, not a participant. Smile more, breathe and relax, look for hopeful signs instead of hassles. Remember the words “good will to all.”
Simple Action: Keep reminding yourself that the holidays aren’t about presents; they’re about presence (yours). Wishing you peace and joy…Leslie