- Travel, which can be stressful in and of itself
- Eating weird/rich/too much of foods that you’re not used to
- Interacting with family/acquaintances/co-workers with whom you might have strained relationships
- Overindulgence and temptation at every turn
- Pressure to be “well” enough to meet the expectations of others to be “festive” and “jolly” even if you “feel like dog crap” and “wish you could be napping instead”
- Sadness around loss of normalcy, especially for folks who have lost romantic partners or children or pets this time of year
- Focus on consumption and other money-related stresses
BWAH! It’s too much. If we think of it in this way, that is. So I’ve got a different perspective for you to try out:
Make your own holiday. That’s right: Make it your own.
Don’t try to be everyone’s everything. Eschew traditions that don’t fit your current abilities or interests. Assert your needs. Plan fun things that work for you and feed your joy.
I know–this is kind of revolutionary for some of you. The holidays are laden with traditions that we are loathe to break, especially if we don’t want to “let down” family members.
But what does the winter holiday season TRULY symbolize for so many of us, no matter our religion or spiritual pursuit?
Togetherness. Generosity. Joy. Creativity. Fun. Rest and relaxation. Delicious meals. Snuggle time with pets and our loved ones. Fun. Did I mention fun?
Will you get some resistance?
Probably. Your great aunt Shirley might think it’s nuts that you don’t want to eat turkey and instead want to have a potluck and invite your two best friends to the family table.
Your mom may think it’s bizarre that you want to stay in the city and nestle into your little apartment with your cat and a good book and enjoy some quiet time, instead of traveling across the country to sleep in a cramped guest room.
If you’re like me, you might have family members who resist your new tradition of a gift swap (instead of buying dozens of gifts for everyone). But believe me… they’ll learn to love it. Or not. Either way, it’s OK.
It’s OK. This holiday time is YOUR holiday time. Make it your own.
- Make a list of the things that are a priority for you.
- Make a list of the things that will feed your soul.
- Make a list of the things that will be fun for you.
- (I bet these lists are really one big list all together!)
Get solid on your priorities, and then gently assert yourself.
Planning an authentic, soul-fueling holiday season is a mindful task, so take some time to really think it through. And then slowly, deliberately, thoughtfully, compassionately let your friends and family know that this year, you’re starting some new traditions. Invite them to participate if appropriate. Let them know you respect their desires and needs, and you appreciate them respecting yours. And stick to your position.
It helps if you keep in mind the benefits of this exercise:
- Less stress
- More fun
- Rest and relaxation
- Soulful contemplation
- Better dance parties
- Food you like
- People you love
- … and so much more.
Making my own holiday traditions has been an enormous gift.
Have I had pushback from friends and family? Oh heck yea. But I don’t care — I’m taking good care of myself and enjoying this time of year so much more. And I bet you will too.
For bonus video support:
Check out this video on avoiding comparisonitis (which can run rampant this time of year.) Check out this video on avoiding the winter blues (a thing I am challenged by every winter). And refresh yourself on these five ways to respond to someone who doesn’t really think you’re sick (because it’s nicer to respond in a way that educates them, rather than blow up at them, right?)
So. How will YOU make this holiday of yours authentic?
I’m eager to hear your plans! Jump in the conversation below and tell us what’s up. Smooches!