This December has snuck up on me a little bit. I mean…I knew it was coming. I haven’t lost my mind completely…it’s around here somewhere.
Still, I personally have had a number of huge milestones in my life that I’ve been dealing with and putting to bed (so to speak).
This Monday saw the tail end of a really, really big one but that’s not my point (and you know I tend to get going on tangents..I”m working on it!) My point is holy moly look at that date!
21 days lift til Christmas and all I have done is hang my sad, tired wreath on the door. I have a beautiful plan in my head for a new one that really reflects my personality but truly by the time I get it done it should be ready for next year!
In all honesty, it’s not that bad for me. My list is small and I love the shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, baking and decorating. LOVE it. I may even be at home with my fur-family Christmas Day and I’m okay with that. I love those guys and hiking on that day is spectacular because everyone else is busy, busy, busy! So Mr. Charlie Bear gets to run off leash on the trails. When I lived on the East Coast I often went snow hiking and it was awesome.
For others though, the holidays brings other emotions. Stress, fear, worry and exhaustion.
I have a friend who was volunteered to host not one but TWO dinners. She isn’t really up for it physically, but doesn’t want to risk disappointing other people. She is a beautiful soul and a people pleaser. The problem is, like many out there (Ladies especially…listen up) she pleases others at the expense of her own health and happiness. Not cool! I love my friend…she is like a second mother to me and I want her to be joyful, not upset.
I have been thinking of how to help her and in turn realized that a lot of people worry about disappointing others over the holidays and just about kill themselves to do it. They break themselves mentally, emotionally, physically and with their budget. That’s not fair! Everyone should be able to enjoy the blessings of time with family, the love in giving and joy in gratitude without despairing.
I have some ideas (shocking I know!) on how to make the holidays better for everyone…and I do mean EVERYONE. Yes, that includes you people pleaser. You can enjoy making others happy without having to punish yourself in the process.
First of all we need to be realistic in our expectations of what we can do and what we are willing to do. For a select few hosting many dinners would be like striking gold! For others one is more than enough. Being realistic about our family, our events and our … well everything and putting it in perspective first will help us from getting sucked in to deeply and having a melt down.
Learn to say No, but thanks! Honestly, this has got to be one of the hardest things for people to learn to do. Listen up…every request has 3 possible responses. 1 – yes, 2- no, 3 – not sure I’ll get back to you (which flies back to 1 & 2 eventually). All are perfectly okay and perfectly reasonable responses. Stop assuming that people will only love or like you if you use #1. It just isn’t the reality of life. People are more likely to be fine with it if you are calm and collected when you say no to a request. Stop squirming..it’s better to be honest upfront then try to wiggle out of it later or be miserable.
If you do find yourself feeling a bit over your head – ask for help. It’s been my personal experience that when you ask – people respond. When you don’t ask, they don’t know you need help. Trust me, most people aren’t ignoring you or your situation. They just don’t know what you know….so tell them.
The key? Be specific and polite. Yelling “why won’t you help me?” isn’t going to cut it. Asking “can you take out the garbage” nicely is almost certain to get that garbage outta there. Yes it would be nice if magically those loved ones around you can see into your head and just ‘know’ what needs to be done but until then….just get over it and ask.
Make it easier on yourself. Seriously, if you are having 20 people over for dinner or a party and the thought of the pile of dishes waiting for you later is upsetting you..screw it and use disposable (and recycled of course) plates. Or see above…ask for help cleaning up. Make dinner a potluck for all the sides. Gifts can be wrapped at the store or put in gift bags from the dollar store. Planning ahead a little can really help reduce the pressure and work for you.
Let it go. So what if my new wreath idea doesn’t get done til next year. That’s not a really big deal in the larger scheme of things. What does matter? What memories will I want to take with me from the holidays? 5 years from now I’ll remember laughing and feasting with my loved ones, I most likely won’t recall what brand of wine I was drinking or if the decorations were exact and perfect. You deserve the time to celebrate with everyone else, the other stuff is just trimmings. Take that time!
Find your joy and hold it. Anything else is just gravy! (pun intended!)