Holiday Stress...Don't Take it Personally

   As we enter Christmas Week, the air is getting thick with anxiety and trepidation. You hear all around you the words "Holiday Stress". These words are touted around the water cooler, in the newspaper and on the Evening News, as an outbreak of the latest disease. Let's address the idea of "stress". Stress is defined here as : "Emphasis" importance or significance attached to a thing. It goes on to describe this "stress" as "a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism". The most integral definition I found was the mechanical one: "An action that causes strain or deformation".

   Wow! Holiday "Stress" is it really that bad? Are we really wanting to attach such a detrimental label on an occasion that brings families together to celebrate a Holiday? Let's break this down.

In America, we spend the months of November and December fretting and anticipating the idea of gathering with friends and family, exchanging gifts, listening to music, spending time at events, having conversations and experiencing the joy that is Christmas. Why should this bring "stress"? The answer is pretty simple.

   We anticipate the worst outcome. "Oh my God, I have to go to the Mall. It's going to be packed, I'm going to have to park in Guam, it will take forever, I will spend too much and they won't even like what I get anyway." Tell me you are not putting this thought out there! You know you are!

   It's really not that bad. If we just stop and not take this so personally we might get through unscathed and shockingly enough "ENJOY" the season. Let's take it issue by issue:

Shopping: There are several issues within this one small task. Traffic, Parking, Crowds, Long Lines & Item availability. My ideas are simple. First, please be organized. Know what you need before you even start out. Know what your looking for a list helps. Perusing the sale pages helps too. That's a great start.

   The Drive: Take a moment as you get in the car. Sit in the drivers seat, before you put on your seat belt, and take a deep breath, eyes closed. Prepare your mind, Prepare your heart. Take one step at a time. Address only what is right in front of you at the moment. After the deep breath, say out loud to yourself and anyone who may be with you. (yes the child in the car seat and the teenager and most definitely the growling spouse) I (we) am going to enjoy this ride. I am going to get to where I am going easily and find a front parking space. Affirm this. Make a point of knowing in your mind exactly what you ARE going to do. This sets you up for success, as in anything else your universe takes your direction. Then put your favorite music on the radio. Strap in and glide to your destination without incident. The most important part of this is that you BELIEVE this. Know it is true. I can tell you from experience it most definitely works. I do it every time I leave my house.

 

   The Store: Ok, you are now sitting in your front parking space amazed...but smiling. As you park, turn off your car (so the person cursing you behind you knows he should have had a better attitude before he left home), Take another deep breath, be grateful say thank you then affirm for the next step. "I am going to greet everyone I see with a smile. Everyone I come in contact with will be pleasant and happy to assist me. I will find everything I need and get out in a timely fashion." Smile and believe this to be true. Get out of your car and walk into the store. Smile. It's Christmas! A few things to be mindful of: Be careful of your

expectations of the people who work in the stores. Smile always, be pleasant. It will be refreshing to the employee and you will get better results. Ignore the environment. Feel bad for those who are not enjoying their experience. Feel good for yourself. Feel good that you can and will have a pleasant experience. It is YOUR choice. Make it a good one. Lastly, When you are done and sitting in your car smiling with amazement, say THANK YOU. Now affirming for the drive home should be a breeze!

 

Family Gatherings, The Relatives and

The Office Party:

Here's a thought: Life in general is an experience lived by individuals. Each person lives their life through their own view. People live in their own world, in their own story. They invest all their faith in that story, and that story is truth for them, but it’s a relative truth, because it’s not truth for you. If you can see that all their opinions about you really concern the character who lives in their perception, not in yours it would be harder to take anything they say personally. The "you" they are judging in your name is a character they have created  with their perceptions of interactions with you. Whatever people think of you is really about the image they have of you, and that image isn’t you. No matter which way you look at it, People are going to think what they think. Even with your best intentions at hand, you cannot change another person. So, in this vain, Enjoy your life for YOU. Do what You feel is right, and do the best you know how to do. Nobody can expect more of you. If they do, they were expecting more than they should have, and it's on them. Not your issue.

 

The Bottom Line: Enjoying the Holidays is a choice as in everything else. Don't put expectations on yourself. Just enjoy the moment. If you expect to enjoy them you will! Just as if you expect to hate it You will! Just make the right choice. You are only responsible for your experience.

 

Happy Holidays my friends

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