It’s tempting to go, “On x date, I will do all my baking/holiday shopping/etc.” This is particularly troublesome for me, because I was hardwired from my school days to go, “I can wait until the last minute and pass. No problem.” But life isn’t reading “Lord of the Flies” the night before a test. There’s more to it. Break down your tasks into small bite-sized pieces and work a little each day. That way, if x date rolls around and you can’t do ALL THE THINGS, you’re not left in the lurch. Your brain also builds up a momentum, and you can actually get more done rather than doing nothing and then trying to cram it all together. Don’t get overwhelmed. You got this.
Yesterday, our power went out very unexpectedly. And it wasn’t just the ‘oh 5 minutes weh’ kind of outage. It was hours of darkness. However, this made things all the more inspiring because it made me realize that you can’t plan for everything this time of year. All you can do is pick back up once the dust settles. Fight back against discouragement. It’s going to be okay. The light will return.
December is interesting because not only do we have the holidays but there’s the double-whammy of ‘this is the end of the year.’ There’s a feeling of finality. And that’s not always good, because it’s easy to go, “God, I didn’t get done x, y or z.” We come across that list of resolutions and realize that maybe we’re the same weight or we still don’t do our laundry before we run out of clean clothes. Don’t get lost in the past. Be present in this moment. Make it count.
Your mental or physical illness won’t take a break around the holidays, so you might as well make a place for it at your table and on your schedule. There will be times when you can’t even bring yourself to work on the laundry list of items that need done before the 25th or whenever you observe your special time. That’s okay. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes doing the best you can means just waking up. Stressing yourself out will only make it worse. Take care.
Why does it always feel like the holidays are some kind of competition? A contest to see who is charitable enough, who is good enough, who has enough money and time to be the best gift-giver or receiver out there? But the fact is this: you don’t have a thing to prove. Do as much as you’re able, and if you give from your heart, be satisfied. The people who matter will already love you, and you deserve that love. Let it in.
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. Everyone is moving a mile a minute, completely engrossed in their own needs, desires and ambitions. Even as they all rush around you, take a few extra seconds to notice where you are and what is happening. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and remember that only you get to decide how you are going to handle a given situation. Don’t take the stress and burdens of others on your own shoulders.
Not every day is going to be packed with good will or even productivity. There will be bad days, even during the season where it seems like everything should be red and green and silver and gold 24/7. Try to be present. When bad things happen, acknowledge them for what they are – seconds, minutes, hours – and then, move on and make the decision to feel the way you want to feel.
During December, I’m going to share 30 small affirmations/mantras/whatever you want to call them to help people feel good during this time of year. I love the holidays, but I also know it can be fraught with stress and anxiety and not-so-great tidings. I hope these help you. You deserve it.
It’s okay to not be “in the spirit” as soon as December rolls around. You don’t have to immediately be in the ‘deck the halls’ mode, nor do you have to compete against anyone else for how important the holiday season is. You do you, at your pace. You get to decide what this all means, ultimately.