Christmas time can be overwhelming -even for the best of us! Instead of giving into your negative emotions there are things that you can do to inoculate yourself against them and even create empowering states of happiness throughout the season! Check out these top 10 tried and true methods for thriving in the holidays...
10 Tips for Thriving at Christmas Time...
- Use the power of acceptance for get-togethers! Don't work on major family or business issues right now! When you're in-laws arrive on Christmas day -that is not the time to deal with major family issues! Write them down -deal with them in the new year in a way where you can work through them. It's unrealistic to expect that you will overcome years of negative emotions and triggers in an afternoon! Change your self talk to: "That is exactly how that person is supposed to act -because they do!" Practice accepting people (your relatives) for the way they are and the way they aren't. As for business -it is not the time to go through your personal list of why you can't stand your coworkers or your boss. If you need to deal with personal negative issues then don't choose the company Christmas party to do it! Again, practice acceptance and you'll be far less stressed and you may even enjoy yourself!
- Powerfully CHOOSE what you want! You don’t have to attend every staff party, family dinner, kids’ Christmas concert, or dinner party you’re invited to. In fact, the more functions that you unwillingly attend, the more you may be setting yourself up for possible holiday depression and the post-party blues. To decrease holiday stress, prioritize your time and energy by choosing what you want. Saying NO can be a breakthrough for some people!
- Laugh. Watch funny movies, rent old episodes of Seinfeld, take your kids or young family members skating, skiing, or snowshoeing. Start a "bad joke" contest (informally) with your coworkers (this is where you try to come up with the WORST one liner possible, ie: Why did Captain Hook cross the road? To get to the second-hand store). I read one time of a group of Buddhist Monks who would do "laughing meditations" where they would just start laughing. Once you start it's pretty hard to stop! We know that laughter lowers stress and improves blood flow, which increases your energy levels. The more energy you have, the less likely you’ll be to be overwhelmed at Christmas.
- Stay spiritually grounded. Because I'm a Christian I take extra time each Christmas season to read my bible more, pray more, and spend meditation time with God. Whatever your religion -this focus on the inner spiritual man can really help supercharge you when being with others over the holidays! I don't think it's ever a bad idea to focus on your spiritual well-being.
- Get enough sleep. I know this may seem obvious but sometimes we need reminding! A few months back I was going through a rough emotional time and realized that I wasn't getting more than 3-4hrs of sleep a night. I was running full out (in life) and wasn't paying attention to my physical needs as much. So for a few nights I turned all my electronic devices off (at one point I left them all in my office downstairs) to get some much needed sleep. I was amazed at how much more emotionally stable and empowered I felt! You can also be creative -like have a nap in your car at lunch or pick a part of the office that's abandoned and nap it up! I have a colleague who naps EVERY day in the afternoon. He sets his iPhone to wake him up in 45mins and naps. Get your sleep baby!
- Start new traditions. Sometimes to really thrive in life it's a great idea to start a new practice or tradition! 2 years ago I started the tradition of buying a REAL Christmas tree on my wife's birthday (Dec 17th) to put in our bedroom. She loves the smell of real trees and also loves having a tree in our bedroom! It gives me something wonderful to look forward to and experience. Instead of doing the same old thing every year during the holidays -just sit down right now with a notepad and start to create new ones! Have a brainstorming session with your partner, spouse, or family. Watch them get all excited about it! When you come up with an idea that you like and want to do make sure you schedule it into your calendar so it GETS DONE!
- Get enough sunlight. Seriously, this is really important people! Some people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues and it's no laughing matter. One article I read said that ALL of us struggle at some level with these disorders and some way more than others. We need to make sure we're getting enough light, even if we're indoor. Consider buying a light box, or research natural ways to lighten the winter blues. I take suppliments like Vitamin D and melatonin which are both stimulated by sunlight, and they both play roles in improving mood and facilitating sleep. Sunlight will help reduce your holiday stress, improve your mood, and help you THRIVE!
- Mindstorm. Schedule 1hr a week to take a blank sheet of paper and a pen (yes a pen and paper! -no iPads here!) and write out on the top of the page "The most critical problem I need to solve in my business is..." Or "in my life is..." whichever you prefer! Then write out the problem. Write it out again. Ask yourself "Is this REALLY the problem?" Then write out the "real" problem. Once you are satisfied with how you articulated the problem, number down the page from one to twenty and start to list possible solutions. The key here is to have fun! Come up with creative ideas. Just knowing that you are working on the most critical issue in your life or business will give you greater self-esteem, confidence and energy to thrive!
- Delegate responsibilities. If you’re hosting a big family Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, ask everyone to help out in some way. The more support you have, the more you'll be able to get done! My wife and I do 2 Christmas dinners during the holiday season at our home -she organizes the whole thing a few weeks prior -complete with various family responsibilities, the menus for the night, shopping times and who does it, cleaning duties, and any and all things pertaining to putting on a large dinner gathering. The funniest thing (to me) is how everyone thinks these things "just happen" and are completely unaware of the work put into it. We love this though -because it is great feedback that we are doing it well!
- Eat Healthy. Stop the inner story that tells you that you can take a "break" from your eating regimen because it's the holidays. Your body reacts the same whether you are on a holiday or not! I practice tip #1 when they try to get me to eat garbage over the holidays. I'm also careful not to make anyone feel wrong for encouraging me to eat the garbage or if they eat the garbage! Each of us is responsible for our own bodies! When you take on this way of being to eat healthy -you will really empower yourself! The challenge is "Can I get through the holidays and win the game of eating healthy -even through all the temptations and peer pressure conversations?!" When you do it -you'll definitely THRIVE!
Have an AWESOME thriving Christmas!