As the holiday season approaches, you will find article after article, rolled out to help you manage the “stress” of the holidays. Isn’t ironic that the very time of year designated to cultivate peace, strengthen the spirit, and restore the family, causes more strife, imbalance, and disharmony than any other time of year? This could be blamed on the commercialization of the season, the media depictions or on anything outside of ourselves.However, the true blame for holiday stress is an inside job. We create the schedule we choose to follow, we make the choices, and we decide what we will allow into our lives. While the retailers and media all help raise the expectations, we still have the choice whether to follow the pack like sheep, or to do our own thing. Sheeple (the sheep-people) will follow what is dictated to them by what has always been done, by outside influences, or what they assume is expected of them.There is an old adage that defines insanity as doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. If you do not like what your holidays have turned into, then you have to start doing something different. The first step to beating the holiday hype is to evaluate your current situation. You begin by creating lists that will allow you to visualize the situation from a higher perspective. From this vantage point, you will be able to make more purposeful and meaningful choices about this holiday season. Ask yourself these questions and start by identifying at least five things for each one.
1. What means the most to me in my life? (…are things and people I value, and that add meaning to my life.)2. What do the holidays mean to me? (The holidays are a time to…)3. What do I enjoy most during the holidays? (I look forward to…)4. What activities or traditions do we practice that add meaning to the season? (…brings us closer to what matters most in a real way.)5. What do I dread about the holidays? (… cause stress, anxiety, and problems.)6. What obligations have I put on myself? (I feel obligated to…)7. What past obligations, no longer serve me or my family? (… were good once, but not anymore.)8. What can I remove from our family schedule to make more time for meaningful activities? (Be brave: If I thought no one would “pitch a fit,” I would dump…)9. What new traditions could I create to realign with the deeper meaning I have attached to the season? (… would be meaningful, while still simple and enjoyable.)10. What words best describe what I want my holidays to represent. (…represents my holiday philosophy.)Ask your immediate family to make lists as well. Take time to look them over and allow the information to sink in. By involving everyone in the choices, you will create family traditions that are meaningful to not only you, but also your entire family unit. If an activity does not add meaning and value to your holiday experience, do not do feel obligated to do it, even if it is expected. Refuse to be sheeple this year.
Be reflective about what no longer serves you in your life and realign your actions to what you value and what matters to you now. Redefine what you are willing to allow into your life. Just because something is what you have always done, does not mean that you always have to do it that way.Be prepared, not everyone embraces change, nor will they like it when you make different choices. Decide which is more important, what other people think, or what is best for the health and happiness of you and your family? You get to decide, sometimes the choices are difficult, but you will eat the fruit of whatever tree you choose to plant. Reclaim your holidays as a time to strengthen relationships with self, spirit, and those you love.I encourage a “Reclaim Your Holiday” movement. Make the holidays about what you need, and what is meaningful to you, not about obligation. Spread the word! You can have a restorative holiday season if that is what you choose. This year, take action to be happy by choice, not by chance.
“Wellness Matters” Article Series by Lisa Schilling RN, CPT Speaker, Writer, Wellness Coach ConsultantLisa Schilling is the author of “The Get REAL Guide to Health and Fitness-FIVE STEPS to Create Your Own Personal Wellness Plan” She juggles life as a doting wife, and the mother of three boys, who keep her feet firmly planted on the ground!Lisa is a Registered Nurse, author and recovering pageant queen, who spreads hope with her Get REAL approach to wellness. She empowers women, caregivers and groups to unleash their fullest potential by helping them to see their true beauty and discover their REAL value.She feels passionate about spreading this message of hope and acceptance to help others be PROactive about their health and not simply REactive. Lisa uses her enthusiasm to inspire people to value and appreciate who they are. She helps people build a bridge from where they are, to where they want to be.As an outspoken advocate for wellness and prevention, her motto is: “See one, do one, teach one!” Visit Lisa’s website [web: getrealwellnesssolutions .com] to claim your FREE Bonus Gifts!