With the upcoming holiday season, we often forget to make it a restful and relaxing one. Instead we get caught up in making sure that everything is perfect, from our outfits, to the food, to the gifts. And then there is the worry about how to afford it all.
Resting and having fun have been two things that seem to have taken a back seat in many people’s lives, especially during the holiday season. I know that I am guilty of not letting my hair down and kicking back too. The world is such a busy, busy place and we are all paying for it by our need for speed. We have speed dating, fast food, fast passes (at amusement parks), and on and on and on. Everything needs to be done NOW and the lack of patience is certainly showing itself.
Years ago I was asked to research how to reduce health costs in the corporation that I was working in. I went to workshops, read books, poured over articles, talked to motivational speakers/psychologists/psychiatrists/life coaches, etc and found the missing ingredient – FUN! And so I implemented a plan. We offered yoga, meditation, line dancing (yup, I am dating myself), spontaneous gratitude, upbeat music, and you get the picture. Many companies do something similar and call it team building where they go out bowling, to a ballgame, miniature golfing or another ‘fun’ thing. Because of the way the business was built, we had to stay in, but it worked. Absences decreased, health costs decreased and turnover decreased. Not only were the employees happy, but the bottom line also would make any accountant smile. Everything was going great until a new vice president was appointed and he felt that all this fun was completely unprofessional and immediately stopped it. What happened? Oh, you can probably guess. Health care costs soared again and morale took a nosedive. The bulldog in me spoke my mind, because I stick firm to what I believe in, but that only got me pushed into a data entry job that I hated. No speaking (or thinking), more work. I ended up going elsewhere soon after that and so I too became one of their statistics. Mere months after I left the business they locked their doors and went under. Success does not have to equal a bah hum bug attitude. In fact most that I see that take on the ornery ways end up with health problems, miserable marriages or broke.
- Stop Comparing. Comparing your life, job, house, money, Christmas tree, etc. to friends, relatives and/or the front of a magazine cover will make you miserable. Mark Twain said that comparison is the death of joy. You lose your happiness when you are looking at what you don’t have and what everybody else has. Focus on your own progress. You don’t need anyone’s approval or pat on the back.
- Stop overcomplicating your life and overscheduling yourself. Do you really need to make 10 different types of cookies? Does everybody need to be visited on Thanksgiving? Between parties, events, shopping, work, school activities and everything else in between the season is often a blur. Make a list, a budget and create a schedule, and keep to it.
- Let go of past issues. That argument that you had with your brother when you were ten years old – is that really something that needs to be brought up on Christmas Eve? So often with heightened stress, a splash or two of alcohol and different personalities it causes past issues to surface. Be the bigger person, smile and sip your hot chocolate.
- Keep it simple with the decorations, the gifts, the schedules and with the stressors. Many times less is more. Buy already made cookie dough and decorate that or wrap gifts with newspaper and a pretty bow instead of spending a ton of money on expensive gift wrap and spending so much time and expense on making your own dough. Don’t try to make duck if you’ve never made duck and make a killer and much loved roast. Make it simple.
- Think before you commit yourself. Whether it is saying yes to a purchase or a party, think if it is truly what you want to do and that you aren’t being strong-armed or made to feel guilty.
- Remove your rose colored glasses. Make memories this season, don’t get caught up on the sadness of holidays past so much that you can’t see the happiness within the now.
- Bring back the fun in your life and in your holiday season. Cherish the time, not the gifts.
If you keep your standard set to fun, joy and happiness then that is what will fall easily into your life. The clichés of stop and smell the rosesand life is too short are true. Remember that wherever your attention goes is exactly what you get in return, not from Santa, but from the Universe.