Ready To Put The “Happy” Back In Your Holidays?

holiday-happiness

By: Jessica Waclawski, Kara Wickman, and Penny Wilson

I know it’s “only” October.

I know you may not be ready to face the Holidays. But. . .

By starting to think about them now, you can start getting ready to have the Holidays you want. . . .To focus on family, friends, food, and fitness. To put the “Happy” back in your Holidays.

What do you expect?

The holidays are filled with messages of joy, peace, and love. But, in reality, it’s a time of high stress and high expectations! We tend to get caught up in what we “should” do, how the holidays “should” be, and spiral into a cycle of comparing the “should” to reality.

We never feel like we’re doing enough, like we’re enough, like the life we created isn’t enough.

What most of us really want – I mean really, really want – is to focus on our family, friends, food, and fitness.

Not all of the artificial “happiest time of the year” stuff that doesn’t ring true. And, doesn’t really make it the “happiest time of the year”.

Rates of depression and anxiety drastically increase during the holidays. If you’re alone, you may feel that loneliness even more. It appears as if everyone else is having a great time with their loved ones.

If you’re a perfectionist (to any degree) your expectations go through the roof as you worry about entertaining guests and family and making every event the “perfect” event. Your bank account shrinks as demands to choose and buy the perfect gifts grow.

Is your heart rate increasing just thinking about all the demands of the holiday season? Mine is! But here’s the thing that we seem to forget… we get to CHOOSE. We get to choose what makes our season Merry and Bright. We get to CHOOSE how we want to spend our hard earned money. And we get to CHOOSE what will fill our hearts with joy and peace.

But, here’s the thing that we seem to forget… we get to CHOOSE. We get to choose what makes our season Merry and Bright. We get to CHOOSE how we want to spend our hard earned money. And we get to CHOOSE what will fill our hearts with joy and peace.

One of the tricks to managing the sky-high holiday expectations is to step away from what the commercials, your mother, or even your memories tell you what the holiday season SHOULD be. Listening to what everyone else thinks creates unrealistic expectations that everyone falls short of.

So, what can you do? Start now – today – by redefining what the holidays mean to you. Choose what you want most to get from this time of year.

Start reevaluating and CHOOSING for yourself what you desire most!

Stop. Take a deep breath. Think about what you want this holiday season to be like. Choose what you want – what you really want. Get a pen and paper. Now, write down what you want this holiday season to be like.

What about the food?

Food is one of the main focuses of holiday celebrations. And, the person responsible for food is even under more pressure than everyone else.

Is that you?

If so, now is the time to begin thinking about what your expectations are for holiday meals. Just because things have been done a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it has to continue being that way this year.

Think about what your ideal role with the food would be this holiday season. Don’t use commercials or ads to decide what you would want. Think about what you want.

Maybe rather than having all of the extended family over you’d prefer to have a small gathering with just yourself, your partner and your children or just close friends.

Don’t censor yourself. There is no “right” or “wrong” – only what you want.

If cooking stresses you out, whether you cook some or all of the food, what can you do this year to reduce that stress? Can you enlist others to help? Can you order some of the food out? Again, none of these are “right” or “wrong”. They are different ways of getting food on the table.

Because, what’s more important . . .you being relaxed and able to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family or you being stressed out trying to do everything yourself and not able to enjoy the holidays?

Stop. Take a deep breath. Think about what you want the food, and your role in producing the food, this holiday season to be like. Choose what you want – what you really want with the food – going out, staying home and cooking or a combination. You get to choose what you want. Now, write it down.

Choosing what you desire for the holidays, as well as setting reasonable expectations, is such an important part of getting the happy back in your holiday. Lastly, let’s look at goal setting, as it relates to taking care of YOU during this busy time.

Goals?

Have you ever said to yourself, ‘I just need to get through the holidays and then…(insert here)? Then I’ll start exercising. Then I’ll start eating better. Then I’ll deal with that issue.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to not just get THROUGH the holidays, but actually THRIVE through the holidays?

To be able to get back to a time of genuine thankfulness, celebration, and pure joy. To enjoy your family, friends, food, and fitness.

There will never be a perfect time, no perfect date on the calendar to start making healthier decisions that will affect every area of your life. Why not start now – with some baby steps? Do something small every day and begin to develop those habits.

This holiday season, I challenge you to think about exercise and movement in a different way. Instead of massive, over reaching goals that you save for the New Year, focus on small ways you can fit movement in each day. With busy schedules, parties, shopping, and preparation, how you take care of yourself may look different during this time of year.

And guess what…that is OK.

It may require creativity concerning when and how you take care of yourself. But, if we spend a little time thinking about how we can make this holiday different than years past, that HAPPY that we are longing for, might just creep back in.

In a time where we often forget about ourselves, I encourage you to make the time anyway. Your future self will thank you – not only for beating the holiday pounds, but more importantly for clarity, peace of mind, reduced stress and anxiety…and happiness. When we focus on these bigger outcomes, more intrinsic reasons for movement, we find habits easier to stick with.

Often times a stumbling block to achieving our goals is trying to replicate how someone else does things. Get rid of comparison. Comparison is a destructive thing that keeps us from real joy and from achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

Before the hustle and bustle of the season picks up, sit with yourself and think about what will work for YOU. Remember that pen and paper? Grab it again and write down what you would like fitness to be like during this year’s holiday season.

Ready for a Happier Holidays?

Now, take a couple of more minutes and look back at all of your notes. What do you think? How do you feel when reading them again?Keep your notes handy so you can look back at them when you get caught up in the “shoulding” or unrealistic expectations of the season. Remind yourself that this is your holidays. You deserve to have the holiday season you want.

Keep your notes handy so you can look back at them when you get caught up in the “shoulding” or unrealistic expectations of the season. Remind yourself that this is your holidays. You deserve to have the holiday season you want.

This is just the beginning of some ideas behind what we will be discussing in our upcoming webinar. We’ll be focusing on how to have a Happy Stress Free Holiday. Watch for information on how to sign up for our FREE webinar where you’ll receive our 5 secrets to a holiday free of stress! Join us as we dive into this topic and share more strategies to equip you with the tools to enjoy a truly Happy Holiday. Then come the New Year you will already be feeling successful rather than stressed!

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me in the comments below a few things that come to mind that you’d like to do differently this holiday season.

Speak Your Mind

*