I think we would all agree that this time of year is so special; we look forward to family gatherings, holiday celebrations, and ringing in the New Year. I think we’d also agree that the next three months can be a blur of activity after activity and we don’t always remember to enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.
Having been caught up in the end-of-year whirlwind myself for many years, I’ve found a few tried and true ways that you can proactively slow down and really enjoy your holiday season.
1. Be in the NOW – With so much going on both at work and home, it’s so important to appreciate the present moment of NOW. In order to stay focused and in the NOW, pre-plan as much as you can. Pre-plan for the next day, the upcoming week, the various holidays and your time off. Also, consider taking a few days off before and after your holiday vacation. Give yourself a day or two at home before you get back to the demands of the office.
2. Write out your vision for each holiday event – As wonderful as the holiday are, they can also be stressful. Whether you’re hosting a big family gathering or traveling across the country to celebrate, inevitably something doesn’t go exactly as you planned. To help minimize this potential stress, write out your vision for each holiday event and define the specific outcomes you want to have happen. Include your five senses: what do you hear, see, small, taste and touch. Then take a few minutes each day to envision these positive holiday moments in your mind. By the time they finally happen, it should feel like a deja vu experience.
3. Patience is the key to your happiness during the holidays – As we enter the holiday season it’s very important to shift your internal gear from high to low. Most of us run at max speed every day but now is the time to purposely slow yourself down to appreciate the moment you’re in and the joy of the season happening around you. You work hard and you’ve earned this time to immerse yourself in the love of your family and the special moments that abound this time of year. I encourage you to get a Post-It or a small card that you can keep on your desk or in your purse/briefcase and write the words, “Slow down. You have earned the right to enjoy this holiday season”. Read it every day and envision yourself doing exactly that.
4. Do your holiday gift shopping now – We all have the good intention of getting our holiday shopping done and out of the way early each year, but how many of us actually accomplish that? This is the year to do it! To make your life a little easier, create a list for yourself that includes: people you’re shopping for, gift ideas for each individual, places you can purchase the gifts and the date your shopping will be done. Most importantly, think about and write out your holiday message to each person. You’d be surprised how many people remember your message more than the gift. Take the time and go the extra mile for the people that are so important to you!
5. Stay centered and grateful – Take time to reflect on the wonderful people who’ve crossed your path and the positive experiences you’ve had this year. Also think about all you’ve done for your family, friends, company, and community this past year. Take notice of how you unconditionally give of yourself to others. Recognize all of the goodness in your world and let it fill you with gratitude. Make this gratitude practice a permanent part of your life and watch the joy and peace of the holidays unfold before you each and every day.
I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote by D.M. Dellinger that perfectly sums up what I hope for you this holiday season…
“This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!”
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