Each year, I host Thanksgiving for my family, Bill's family, and our friends. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; the focus on gratitude speaks to my heart. I love to cook, make a plan for the day, and bring my family and friends together to celebrate.
But in past years, throughout the day, as I'm checking off tasks on my down-to-the-minute checklist, my nervousness and anxiety build and build so by the time the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and other dishes are laid out on the buffet table, I'm a bitchy, overstressed, unhappy wreck. I'm not enjoying myself - and my family and friends aren't enjoying my company either.
So this year, I have a new, BLISS-full approach to the holidays, beginning now as I start prepping for tomorrow. Read through the five tips below to find one suggestion or more that will help you to reduce stress, soften your perfectionism, and find joy throughout the holiday season and long afterwards.
Find Your BLISS During the Holidays
B - Body Compass and the 4Bs
Check in with your body's responses, what author and life coach Martha Beck calls your Body Compass, to see if an activity is something that you actually want to do. If the task doesn't excite you, try using one of the 4Bs to improve your overall enjoyment.
Bag - Can you just not do what you don't want to do? What would happen if you didn't go to the office party, or vacuum, or bake? Personally, I'm not going to stress over the mess that is my office (which is open to and very visible from the dining room). Yes, there are piles for each of the many projects that I'm right in the middle of, but I would rather do so many other things than organize and find a place to hide the folders, papers, and piles of books, only to bring it all out again on Friday.
Buy/Barter - Can you trade your undesirable task for another task that you would enjoy? Or buy your way out of it, like picking up pumpkin pie at the grocery store instead of baking?
Batch - What undesirable but necessary tasks can you combine to get them all out of the way at the same time? Like devoting one day to baking Christmas cookies or teaming up with your husband to spend a "date" shopping for holiday gifts.
Better - If you can't make the task go away and batching doesn't work, what can you add on to the task to make you feel better? Treat yourself to an aromatic bath at the end of the day. Stop by Starbucks after Christmas shopping. Indulge yourself with five minutes of doing nothing at all.
L - Love What Is
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and irritated, take a breath and Love What Is. Railing against what is happening is like arguing with the weather - no matter whether you like it or not, it's still going to be raining. Stepping outside of the maelstrom of your family's own particular version of crazy, for example, to find a peaceful place where you can let go of your judgment and discomfort makes the difference between inviting happiness or creating misery.
I - Invest Your Coins
Imagine that each morning between now and New Year's you get ten golden coins to put in your pocket. Throughout the day, you Invest Your Coins on how you spend your emotional, physical, and spiritual energy. What are ways that you can take care of yourself - and your family - throughout the holidays and still have coins left over at the end of each day?
S - Say No
It's hard to say no, especially to the people we love, but saying no is an important part of setting boundaries and taking care of yourself. When you say yes to a project that feels like an obligation to your essential self - the part of you that knows the path to your very best life - you lose the time and energy that you could spend on another activity that lights you up.
S - Savor the Moments
Research shows that a regular practice of gratitude - something as simple as writing down your blessings every week - provides protection from envy, resentment, greed, and bitterness. Gratitude becomes a gift that you give yourself when you soak up all the good that life is offering you in each and every moment. And, just like a sponge, when you are full of happiness, gratitude, and joy, you can't help but spread those emotions to the people around you.
I hope you enjoy a BLISS-full and delightful holiday season!
I'm a mother of two incredible boys, wife to Bill White of Happy Baby Signs, author of the books The Well-Crafted Mom and Signs of a Happy Baby, and an intuitive life coach. I like to blog about my adventures with my family and the life lessons I'm learning along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey.
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