I love the holiday season. The parts I so love are the pretty holiday lights, the meals with family and friends where there is real time designated to be together, where kindness towards one another is highlighted, and a most delicious cut-out, frosted Christmas cookie. In between and all around those moments is a hustle and bustle of the holidays. We socialize more, eat more, spend more, do more. Our lives become supersized. When the more virus hits a lot of people grumble more, complain more, get more angry. The stress and fatigue of all this more takes a toll.
Seems like a good day to look at more.
More is a greater or additional amount. It is having a whole lot of much or many. More is well, more. Yet Lexico.com defines the word holiday as “A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done”. For a day where no work is to be done we certainly put more into the work prior to said “day of nothing”. A 2015 study by Healthline in California reported 10 percent of respondents reported no stress, 62 percent reported increased stress. Our primary stressors include having some difficult family dynamics that are a challenge, spending more money, and that our self care can be difficult to maintain. Sometimes how we celebrate our holiday, the amount of money spent, and who we spend time with creates a conflict of the type of person we want to be, and what we feel others “expect” us to do. It can be a pressured balancing act that creates stress.
In the movie “The Grinch Stole Christmas” there are a number of themes that resonate throughout the movie. Community, spirit, forgiveness, loneliness. As the movie evolves what we see is the people of Whoville are imperfectly perfect just like us. At the end of the day what brings joy and happiness is not the stuff, it is the relationships of love, kindness, caring between everyone. “It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Even the Grinch figured out what the holidays should be about.
When I was a kid living with my family south of Buffalo, NY every year I would receive ONE Christmas present from my maternal grandparents. Yep one. Every year my Aunt Jane would bring our presents from my grandparents to our house so we would have them to open up on Christmas morning. That one present was the one present I looked most forward to. That one present was ALWAYS either a new pair of pj’s or a robe. Every year. It felt so special to receive that one gift. There was no more money attached to this most precious gift. There was a whole lot of more love. That is what mattered to me.
The holiday season is not a surprise to any of us. If you feel good about how you manage your life the rest of the year beyond holiday time you have been practicing for managing your life with more during the holiday season. Yes you already have the skills in place to find a better balance for yourself during the holiday season. Think about times in your life when a multitude of tasks, to-dos, mores have come your way that were not planned and you crushed it. The holidays and the more is not a surprise, it is expected. The holiday stress of more is at your doorstep. There are actions you can take so you have joy during the holidays.
Here are your managed more tips:
- Be consistent with your fitness. Working out whether it is at home, the gym, walking outside will help your brain and your body. Park super far away when you are shopping, dining out, or running any other errands. Your brain and body will thank you for it.
- If you are feeling pulled in too many directions to do too many activities say no. Yep you have the total right to say no. There are ten other months beyond November and December to plan time with others.
- Manage your budget and stick to it. It is not the amount or price of a gift that has value. It is that it came from the heart. My yearly pair of pj’s or robe meant the world to me. Most of my friends and I do not exchange presents. We usually spend that money on others in need or plan a fun outing for after the holiday season. In my family we had a conversation about the amount of spending attached to gifts and came to a compromise. There are still gifts. We just are respectful to all budgets and abilities. Homemade gifts are always welcome!
- Plan for gatherings that involve challenging family dynamics or friendship dynamics. Sometimes we have this fantasy thinking that at the Holidays people will behave and act differently. You know how the people in your life act. Be planfully prepared for what you will do if a difficult moment occurs. Doing this will help you go to a gathering more relaxed because you will feel more in control of what you can do.
- Help others. Everyone has the ability to do something for others. Hold open doors, give up your super close parking spot, return someone else’s grocery cart, look up and SMILE at people. If you have the financial means there are many agencies that help people in need. Give your money, buy gifts for others, volunteer, do something!
- Have an attitude of gratitude. There is always something you can be grateful for! Everyday take some “gratitude time” to think or write down what you are grateful for.
- Keep to you self care schedule best you can. Get your zzz’s, eat healthy, schedule nothing time (yep schedule it).
- Expect that as much as you will try your best there might be moments where things get out of hand. Do not belittle yourself if this happens. Take some deep breaths to calm yourself and then figure out what to do. Unlike all of the commercials where everything and everyone appears to have the “perfect” life, for the rest of us life is imperfect and flawed. Things will go awry. That is what makes us human. You will figure it out.
- Keep near and dear to your heart what is important to you. Despite what others around you may believe in you get to be you and do you! Hold true to your values and priorities.
Most impressive, glorious person you so matter. Just like those magical snowflakes each and everyone of us is unique and spectacular. Be kind to yourself. The beauty of the more is that our perspective and actions determine what our more is.
May your more be with you💜
Phot by Briana Tozour on Unsplash