Monday, December 17, 2012
Over the next few weeks, most of us will be faced with the prospect of spending more time than normal with our close and/or extended loved ones. That thought can bring both joy and terror to the hearts of many.
We all know that the holidays adds pressure that is not there at other times of the year. I want to encourage you to protect your fun this holiday season. Here are three practical things you can do:
Breathe Deeply. Often.
In our rush, rush, hurry hurry society, it is easy to just quickly move from place-to-place, person-to-person without ever really truly experiencing a moment. Breathing deeply, often forces you to do that. When we take deep breathes, we are confined to the moment we are in. It forgets what is behind and holds off what lies ahead. A deep exaggerated inhale and intentionally pushed out exhale holds the participant in the time it takes to do it. It clears the mind and empties the heart, even if just for a few seconds. You cannot do anything else when you do it.
Genuinely open your heart and widen your mouth as much as you possibly can over the next few weeks. Especially try this at that trying dinner/cocktail/visit you know you will be faced with. Smiling eases the muscles in your face and takes less energy than a frown. Use a smile in response to the dig you may get from the family member who takes sarcastic digs at everyone. Smile to yourself as you realize you missed a gathering or forgot to buy a gift you'd planned on getting. Smile knowing that your regular routine - good or bad is just a few days away. Smile knowing your have an opportunity to make the new year that is fast approaching, a new beginning.
Use Fewer Words.
Speak less words in your interactions this holiday season. Precise communication really helps all situations. Choosing wisely what to say and what not to say can make the difference in every relationship you have this holiday season. This is especially tough but important for both those close relations and the distant ones. In our close relations, we feel comfortable saying "all we have to say" while in our distant relations, we often feel the need to "fill them in" because of the distance. I say use fewer words in all settings and see how it goes. You may hear more than you normally do. You will certainly have less pressure to say the right thing if you go this route.
Picking one or more of these tips will surely protect your fun this holiday season. I employed them all last year and will be doing it again this year.
Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. and a Happy and Prosperous 2013!