Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I wanted to share some helpful holiday expectations with you today.
Just so you know, it is normal to have a mixture of feelings as the Holidays approach. We all know the positives – Yummy food, meaningful religious celebrations, decorations, beauty of the lights, special moments with family and friends, and good food.
Sometimes we don’t also recognize how normal it is to have painful feelings and stress pop up too. Amidst the joy, there can be stress from preparations and activities, extra financial pressure, negotiating visits to relatives, and even times of grief.
These times of sadness can especially occur when we are reminded of a loss in our lives…loss of a loved one through death, separation, or divorce; loneliness; estrangement, or life not turning out as you planned. Allow yourself to have the emotions you are feeling. “I love the Holidays, and they can also be stressful or sad”.
Here are some tips for healthy holiday expectations:
Don’t…attach your hopes and dreams to someone else’s actions or plans
In a recent post, Sustaining Hope…When it’s Hard to Keep Hoping, I shared that I’m not big on attaching hope to:
~ Outcomes I can’t control
~ People I can’t influence or change
~ Situations in the world that are too big for me
~ Planning on things to change, be different, get better, or not be the way they are
This applies to this season of celebration as well. It is so normal to wish that holiday plans go a certain way, that people would remember and include you in meaningful ways, and that everything would go as planned.
Reality check…all that you’re hoping for probably won’t happen. Some will.
I’m not being a downer, just realistic. This is because most likely, others in your life have their own list of hopes, wishes and needs. They also have a lot of responsibilities and things they are dealing with that you don’t even know about. Just like you. Just like me.
That doesn’t mean don’t wish for things.
It does mean share with others what you’d like to do. Please don’t do the mind reading thing, hoping they will just know. That is a recipe for disaster. When planning for the holidays, make sure you also include some things that matter to you, that don’t depend on the actions of someone else.
- Take an active position in making sure that this Holiday season includes time with people or activities that are meaningful to you such as meaningful religious services, time with family and friends, special holiday traditions and food, looking at lights, music, etc.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, exercise, time to relax and have fun. Please be kind and compassionate with yourself during the holidays.
- Don’t forget to include and honor God as you go through this season. Think of ways that are meaningful to you to honor Him and include Him throughout the season.
- Focus on all you are thankful for. It’s easy to focus on what’s not happening, or what went wrong. Look around you and make a lost, starting today or all you grateful for. If you look, there are a ton!
- If you are missing someone special during the holidays, make sure and do things that keep them with you in some way. Some ideas might be to keep a picture of them nearby, allow yourself to feel sad as well as happy as you remember them, or do activities that they loved to do during the holidays.
- Say no when you need to, make your own memories, and do things as simply as possible.
I’m also planning to talk more about this topic at my Facebook Live this Friday at 1:00pm (pst).
You can watch here www.facebook/TheSelfCompassionClub If you can’t attend live, check back anytime and the recording of the talk will be waiting for you. I hope you’ll join me!
I would love to get your input
What was your reaction when you saw the title of this post, Healthy Holiday Expectations? What was most helpful about what was shared? What are some tips you can share with us about healthy expectations for the holidays? How do you take care of yourself during this season?
Please leave your comments below and share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit!