When I think back on the recent years around this time, the Holidays are full of good memories. On the flip side, those memories are somewhat overshadowed due to the fact that I was distracted and in my head at certain points throughout. This was a pattern for me.
In my twenties it was food. My unhealthy relationship with it and my obsession with controlling what I put in my mouth, often inhibited me from truly enjoying the fullness of the season. Clearly food plays a big role in celebrating and most people associate it with relaxing, taking a break and being on vacation. This was a difficult thing to reconcile within my own head and often I ended up frustrated, overwhelmed and unhappy. Clearly that was not the best way to spend the Holiday season. In my head and disconnected from the people right in front of me.
Eventually I was able to move forward, and heal my relationship with food and my body (more on that in a future post). However, when I became a mom there was a whole new challenge. Unrealistic expectations. I had dreamed about what the season would look like when I had kids. How we would celebrate and what traditions we would start. I was and still am big on traditions! I envisioned presents upon presents under the tree, and the look on my kids’ faces on Christmas morning.
Immediately I began “should-ing” all over the place. I should decorate the house perfectly, we should make a bazillion cookies for the neighbors, they should have hundreds of presents to open etc…the list went on and on. I’m sure you can guess the result of this mindset. I was a tired, stressed out and frustrated mama when my plans didn’t work out according to my design.
These examples are a bit on the dramatic side, but not entirely untrue. Just a few ways in which I was focusing on things that ultimately didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Not to diminish the joy of a great meal or cookie making, but I think it is important to take a step back from the Holiday chatter and decide for ourselves and our family what is truly important. What do you value most during this time of year.
When we are clear on the important things, we can then design the weeks and every day to reflect those values. In order to get clear on your values, take some time to journal and think about what your ideal Holiday season would look like. The more clear we are on our expectations, and the more aligned they are with our values the more likely these visions are to become our reality. Start by asking yourself the following questions.
On January 1 how do I want to feel- physically, mentally and emotionally?
What are 1-2 small actions or habits I can cultivate to move me in the direction of how I want to feel?
What are 1-2 unrealistic or unnecessary expectations I have of myself during this time, which I don’t truly want to do?
What are the activities that I am looking forward to experiencing the most?
When and how will I carve out time to nourish myself, to reconnect, and fill my cup?
In a few years’ time when I look back on this season, what do I want to say about it and how do I want to feel?
From here, you have a strong starting point to create your very intentional Holiday. This will look different and mean something different to everyone. That is why looking within and asking yourself the above questions is so important. It doesn’t work to scroll instagram or Facebook and try to recreate other people’s version of an ideal season.
Look at it as a fun challenge. How can you design your own personal best Holiday season yet! Be specific with as many details as possible. Who are you surrounded by, what are you doing, how do you feel?
Notice a pattern? Thinking about how you want to feel is so important. This is a recurring theme and an extremely helpful guiding question to ask even beyond the Holidays.
There are so many instances when I feel off track or confused about the next right step. When I simply pull the lens back and ask, How do I want to feel, then match that up to the actions I can take, for the most part that is enough for me to make the choice that is right for me.
Whether its eating that huge bowl of pasta or staying up late, sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it’s not, but I get to decide and make a fully conscious choice.
You have the power to edit out certain things that are not adding to your vision and the power to choose more aligned actions that help you to live in harmony with your values and your idea of an enjoyable season.
Like I shared at the beginning, it can be helpful to identify some pain points that might come up for you. Overall, the way I see it, the goal is to clear out any distractions, things that don’t add value to our experience or take us out of the present moment. This in and of itself is a journey and can be process, but well worth the work. On the other side, you will be able to have a clear mind and heart in order to be where your feet are and fully enjoy all the little moments that add up to your life and this special season.
When you are clear on your vision as well as potential roadblocks to achieving that vision, you are on the path to an intentional, meaningful and memorable few weeks.