Holiday Stress Creeping In? Slow Down


Labels are words we place on our life experience. Often times labels are used to associate a word with a specific experience, whether that be an experience with a person, place or thing, a label is used to describe it. For example, the word holiday actually comes from the Old English word “Holy Day.” Its original meaning included taking a break from work, resting and slowing down…not so much. These days “holiday” too often evokes more stress, more work and extra anxiety around to do lists and a lot of “have to” and “should” guilt language which robs us of any sense of refreshment associated with a Holy Day to rest and relax:  I have to get a costume; make a special meal; host a party…I should travel to visit relatives; prepare my house to host relatives; buy extra stuff that throws me out of budget. We are “shoulding” all over ourselves and flaring our body into a holiday stress Frenzy.


Is it possible to maintain inner calm and a relaxed attitude in the midst of the holiday craze? What if you could flip your relationship with stress this holiday season and look at it as an opportunity to identify and adjust your perception so that your words; thoughts; deeds and actions align with the person you are committed to being in and through the gift of the season?  Rather than loading all kinds of expectations and assumptions around how you think the holidays should look like, feel like and sound like how about flipping your perceptions into a place of wonder and curiosity?  As soon as you assume or expect that you or another person or situation should show up a certain way you instantly render yourself extremely vulnerable to rising and falling depending on specific outcomes. Thought forms like, “if this isn’t perfect I won’t love and accept myself” or “if I don’t complete everything on my to-do list in a specific way then I have failed.” Failure is simply a label we place on an undesirable outcome. Curiosity and fascination open up our child like space of wonderment which evoke feelings of joy and a willingness to explore new ways of experiencing life without the need to own; control and possess, analyze; interpret and conclude.


If you feel the pressure in your body when you look at your to-do list simply ask yourself: “what do I need to remember in order to relax my response to what I feel I need to accomplish in order to feel safe and enough?” then listen and see what pops up inside your castle, perhaps you will hear, “remember this: you’ve already made it and add value to each situation because of the person you are not because of what you do.” Think of it this way, you are the landlord of your interior life. How many tenants are you giving free rent to that are literally trashing your internal home? Fear? Doubt? Worry? Perfectionism? Guilt? Inadequacy? Lack and scarcity?


Listen to the intonation you use with yourself and demands you place upon yourself and others this holiday season and look for opportunities to remember important pieces of information that perhaps you are distorting, deleting or generalizing that perhaps are robbing you of your ability to refresh and enjoy the aspects of a holiday, a holy day created to refresh and restore what you value most in this life.


The first holiday season that I fully entered into from a place of authentic desire to realign my words; thoughts; deeds and actions with what I truly value most was when I was diagnosed with advanced cancer. For this first time in my adult life a childlike wonderment filled the interior rooms of my perceptions and everything around me flipped into a wonderland of opportunity to create moments filled with what is truly essential on this journey of life and I tuned into and lingered in the moments which aligned with what I value most: loving and being loved; serving others and being present in the moments I am gifted on this journey of life. Life satisfaction flows from who you are while you do what you do.


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