The Holiday Season – It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, right? But so many people feel stress to get everything done, pressure to be perfect in front of family and friends, and anxiety over what may go wrong that they lose sight of the joy the season is meant to deliver. Today we’re offering tips on finding peace in holiday chaos so you can enjoy your holiday.
In the words of fashion designer Donna Karan, “It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” Often chaos is uncontrollable, especially chaos that stems from others. So finding peace in holiday chaos is more about how we handle ourselves than anything else. The words and actions of friends, family members and complete strangers are out of our control. Even the behavior of our own children can be out of our control. When someone says or does something rude, abrasive, hurtful or annoying, we each have a choice: maintain the calm or fuel the fire. If you decide to maintain the calm internally, you’re on your way to a more peaceful holiday.
One way to preserve inner peace is knowing that we are the only ones who control our emotions. If you tend to be affected by others, especially during this more stressful time of year, you have a few options. First, avoid the situations that you know will be most sensitive and volatile. That doesn’t mean you should not attend gatherings, but you can try not to engage in controversial topics or limit contact with those who are most troubling to you. If you do encounter nastiness, use your inner strength to take the high road and pull through respectfully by counting to five before speaking. Also, understand that others may be feeling the stress of the holidays too so have compassion for their feelings rather than jumping to judgment.
We can help ourselves find peace in holiday chaos with some steps that are within our control. Managing your time, being prepared and not waiting until the last minute can alleviate some anxiety over the holidays. This applies to shopping, cooking, cleaning your home for gatherings and thinking through how to keep your children happy and occupied.
For some, staying sane this holiday season may be as simple as saying “no” to demands on your time so that you don’t overextend yourself. When we’re spread too thin, everything suffers and we may become part of the chaos. It’s OK to decline sometimes for the sake of your own enjoyment. Also, focus on the important things you need to do to prepare for your holidays without being distracted by extraneous things that can be handled at another time or that will negatively drain your energy and your spirit.
Additionally, finding peace in holiday chaos means you need to take care of yourself as well. Many people feel they should be happy and are so busy finding ways to achieve happiness they end up being miserable. Think about the things that truly make you happy and focus on doing some or all of those things during your holiday. Perhaps this is partaking in a relaxing hobby or giving yourself a gift. Happiness is highly personal and stems from what is important to you, not others. Also, avoid the grumpiness by ensuring you take care of basic needs too, like eating healthily, sleeping, exercise and whatever else makes you whole.
Remember, your goal should be to create a fun, loving and inclusive holiday where you can connect with those you love to celebrate the season. You probably cannot change the chaos but finding peace in holiday chaos is well within your control. Embrace your inner calm and make this holiday season the most wonderful time of the year!