So growing up I was a little resentful of Christmas. It kind of stole the thunder away from my birthday! Once I got to high school though, I was somehow able to trade in my disappointment in how many people forgot about my birthday (yeah, picture Sixteen Candles) and embraced the fact that everyone was so hung over from the holidays that I got cash instead of gifts. This was such a big deal that you would think that I might have planned my daughter's birthday with that in mind....and I did not!
Yeah, on top of the Hoopla of the Holidays this time of year, we also have to squeeze in a birthday celebration! Now that she is turning seven, I feel like I'm starting to get how this works AND make it work for us.
What are the Holidays (I'm gonna define Holidays as the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year's, or anytime around this time of year that brings families together and raises stress levels through the roof!) like for you and your family? Do you have particular memories from childhood? Have you created traditions as an adult? Do you feel excitement or dread, joy or disappointment?
This is definitely a time of year when Anxiety will do it's best to get your panties in a wad! It will tell you that something bad will happen (you will disappoint someone, or someone will be mad at you) if you don't whip yourself in a frenzy and get EVERYTHING done for EVERYONE else!
Anxiety may also convince you to just stay home. That party might be UNCOFORTABLE and you can't be CERTAIN how a situation will work out, so it is best to just AVOID these situations. Does that sound at all familiar?
Whatever way your Anxiety shows up during the Hoopla around the Holidays, here are some suggestions for ways to "Talk Back" and embrace more Joy during this Season:
1) KISS (Keep It Simple Santa)...Take a look at your calendar for the next two weeks. Notice which activities, events, and to-do list items fill you will excitement or at least a sparkle and which ones fill you with dread. Go ahead and delete those dread filled ones and focus on what is important to you! Convince Anxiety to help you focus on what's important, and not the noise associated with all the items on your to-do list.
2) Remind yourself that these Holidays are going to happen regardless of whether you have prepared perfectly or not! A client was sharing with me how it finally clicked for her when she gave a present to her nephew that she had spent at least 10 minutes wrapping "perfectly" and how the wrapping was "destroyed" in less than 2 seconds. Find ways to be less perfect and more present to how you choose to spend your time and energy (BTW, got to love gift bags!). Convince Anxiety to spend time with people and not with presents.
3) Carve out at least 15 minutes each day between now and the end of the year. We all have to have some time to recharge our battery. Anxiety will drain your energy if you let it, so pick a space or activity that "floats your boat" and spend a moment recharging each day. Convince Anxiety that the two of you are making self care a priority....and tell it to "stuff" it if it brings up your long to do list (oh, and refer it back to #1).
Happy Holidays to each and every one of you...and your Anxiety too :-)
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor