The holidays tend to be full of mixed emotions: Happy yet Frustrated… Excited yet Overwhelmed… There are traditions, expectations, perceptions, ideals, memories, and habits that we pay more attention to during the holidays than during any other time of the year. We spend more, eat more, and worry about “the little things” that we are sure will make or break the holiday event. We feel exhausted but continue to push ourselves to shop for, go to, wrap, bake “one more thing.” We wake up earlier to bake or we go to sleep later so that we can wrap… In the end we are tired, cranky, and frustrated, and promise ourselves that “next year I am NOT going to…”
The challenge that I offer here is to consider the concept of ENOUGH. How do we do enough so that we honor traditions and still be in the state of mind to enjoy them? How do we practice self-care so that we can enjoy the holidays?
In all seasons of life, it is important to recognize limits. Stress damages the body, the mind, and the soul. When we do not honor our limits, we tend to run into problems – we get sick, we get cranky, we over spend, and/or we lose out on the enjoyment of the activities.
Doing enough and being mindful allows us to recognize our limits and honor them. It allows us to be thoughtful about what we are doing and where we are going. By honoring our limits, we sleep when we are tired and eat when we are hungry. We become deliberate.
Being deliberate allows us to notice the ornaments on the trees, the notes in the cards, the decorations in the neighborhoods. We take the time to notice our emotional responses to smells, sounds, and textures. We think thoughts that we have not thought about “in years.” Becoming deliberate allows us to enjoy the season for what it brings without the guilt, frustration, and exhaustion.
Each year I write a note stating that I hope the recipient of my card is enjoying a peaceful season filled with joy, laughter, love, and rest….
I hope this note finds you enjoying a peaceful day that is filled with joy, laughter, love, and rest.
written by: Dr. Wendy Shackleford, LPCC-S