I don’t about you, but I want to keep my holidays happy, even though, it’s beginning to look a lot like Stressmas…at least at my house.
There are plans to be made, parties to attend, dresses to iron (or dry clean!), presents have to be selected, purchased, wrapped and shipped…I get tired just *thinking* about my To-Do list, let alone actually do-ing my To-Do list.
However the holiday season is also a time when I can feel pulled in a million directions. While I love going to a party every now and then, it seems everyone saves them all for December and then has them all at the same time.
As a Civilian I did what I could to cope, but once I became a Life Coach, I knew I had found tools to experience less stress for myself and I could teach other people to do the same. Here are a few of the strategies that have worked for me:
1. “Remember Your Why” – as the fabulous author Simon Sinek has taught us in his excellent book “Start with Why.”
For me, during holiday time that means – talk with The Hubs and ask, “What are the Must-Dos? Which events do we need to be at and which ones can we skip? What is most important to HIM during the holidays? What is most important to ME?”
I love the ritual of putting our tree up together, for example. Whenever we travel, instead of collecting tchotchkes, we buy ornaments and then when we put up the tree we remember our trips.
He loves choosing the presents for all the kids. He is the “cool uncle” who knows what’s popular in video games and technology and is legendary for picking the best presents. We set aside times to do these things together and enjoy and savor these moments instead of rushing through them.
Once you know what your most important priorities are this year, it helps you recognize when to say no to anything that doesn’t match with what is important.
2. Say No Gracefully – The only way to stop spreading yourself too thin is to stop saying yes to everything. Once you decide what your priorities are, I guarantee you will be in situations where you are going to need to say no with grace and love.
I have practiced countless ways of saying no ever the years and sadly hurt a few feelings along the way of staying true to my inner desires. The gentlest ways I have found to say no are as follows:
- Defer the No – As in, don’t say no immediately, tell the person, “I need to speak with my husband or wife first and check what’s on the schedule, let me get back to you.” Everyone who has ever been in a relationship will understand the need to check in with your partner – either because they already do, or because they haven’t at some crucial moment usually with very bad consequences.
When you do get back to them, one of the best ways to give the final no is to say, “I am sorry, I have another commitment.” Sometimes the commitment is with you, your hubby and Netflix. The other person does not need to know this (and might wish they were joining you instead if they did!). Repeat after me, “I am sorry, I have another commitment.”
- Offer what you CAN do – This is a time-tested, universally proven technique. Notice whenever you call customer service, most companies will never say, “No, we cannot do what you are asking.” Instead they will say, “Well, Sir, this is what we can do…” and begin there.
So my example is, “I am so sorry, I cannot bake the brownies for the entire 2nd grade class, but I am available at the end of the week for the New Year’s party preparation, what time do you need me to be here for that?”
3. Go on a Rampage of Appreciation – I first heard this term in the book “Ask and It Is Given” by Abraham Hicks. It’s basically an invitation to stop and notice what you are grateful for. I use this at random times throughout the day and not just on Thanksgiving. What I do is make it a game and say “Name 5 things you are grateful for, go!” So if I did that now, while writing this, my 5 things would be:
- Alisa Bowman’s Kindness Project – love seeing her random kindnesses on her Facebook updates. They always make me smile. Click here to see today’s kindness.
- Having two computer screens on my desk – one for the article I am writing and one to use for any research, dictionary or reference searching while I am writing.
- Castle – one of my favorite TV Shows which makes me laugh every time I watch it. Planning on watching an episode tonight with The Hubs.
- My Best Friend – I have a picture of her on my desk – we are both sitting on a couch re-creating a picture of Oprah and Gayle that I love.
- Clean Water in a Beautiful Glass – Also on my desk and a reminder of life’s small, wonderful blessings. What happens when you go on a Rampage of Appreciation is that you inevitably feel better than when you started because you cannot be grateful and angry at the same.
You cannot feel grateful and frustrated at the same time. After you are done feeling grateful, you might go back to being upset – or you might not because you are feeling better and switched your perspective.
It’s the fastest way I have found to feel better about anything and I can do it in the car in traffic, in line at the toy store or when I am paying for groceries (when I am usually grateful for things like M&M’s and green smoothies – contradictory but true.)
These are some of the strategies that have worked for me. What do you do during the holidays to stay connected with your spouse? Please join us on Facebook to comment.
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