“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.” – Donald E. Westlake
Regardless of your heritage or beliefs, December is probably a busy month for you. Along with our usual roles and responsibilities we try to make time for traveling, shopping, family gatherings, decorating, dealing with inclement weather, and well, you get the picture. The holidays can get pretty darn stressful, and instead of enjoying the holiday spirit we end up cynical, bitter, and trying to avoid the Salvation Army bell ringers! (I just can’t handle the guilt okay!) We get a case of the “Bah! Humbugs!” and our inner-scrooge comes to the surface ready to fend off any spark of holiday cheer. The sad thing is, when we get stressed out it can leave us stuck in a negative mindset. Our inner-scrooge becomes the dominant voice in our head, and we end up forfeiting any joy, peace, and love that the holidays can be filled with. During these times of stress our mental diet becomes more important than ever. So to help you stay grounded and keep things in perspective during this busy time of year, I wanted to share a few uplifting affirmations and mantras. Use these words of wisdom to turn down the volume of your inner-scrooge and turn up your inner-bliss.
1. “I realized this week that I just cannot do it all. So I will choose to do what I can fabulously.” – Clinton Kelly
When the holiday season approaches it becomes a balancing act. We try to keep all of our plates spinning in the air and add a few more on the side. Instead of try to do more with less time, accept that you can’t do it all. Be realistic and just focus on one day at a time. Stay present and make each day a positive experience. Don’t overwhelm yourself during the holiday season. Prioritize your time and take care of first things first.
2. “The first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.”
The holiday season can bring up some emotional baggage for people, which doesn’t usually help us having a holly, jolly time. Instead of the holiday’s triggering stress, anger, and resentment, use this time as an opportunity to let go of the perennial negative baggage you keep caring. What grudges are you holding onto? If you have some difficult family relationships or have made some mistakes throughout the year, practice cultivating forgiveness and patience. Open up to the possibility of having a more calm, joyful, and loving relationship with yourself, and with those your care about.
3. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward
The holiday season is all about “giving” right? This is great since giving is beneficial for both the giver and receiver. There are plenty of ways to give. You can give your time by volunteering, give holiday cheer to others struggling with their inner-scrooge, and by giving actual gifts and presents. Enjoy the opportunity to give something whether emotional or tangible. I’m not the most confident gift giver, but this year I am putting my insecurities behind me to embrace giving something meaningful to others, even if they only pretend to like it.
4. “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock
Our expectations shape our reality. What we focus on is what we notice. This holiday season; keep your perspective in mind. You can either focus on how “stressful” the holiday will be, or how blessed you are to make it through another year. Instead of focusing on all the things you “should” and “have to” do, realize you do them because they’re important to you. Instead of making the holiday an obligation make it something you choose to engage in because of the joy it can bring. The holiday will only be as stressful as you make it.
5. “Silence is a source of great strength.”
The only person that can keep you mentally healthy is you. You are responsible for taking care of yourself and making sure you don’t get overwhelmed. Remember to make time for your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Make time to relax and recuperate. Make time for silence, stillness, and solitude, whether it is through meditation, exercise, reading a good book, or going for a walk.
6. “One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
I am firm believer that the initial thoughts we have in the morning will shape our day. When we wake up thinking about the problems and frustrations we will encounter it leaves us stuck in a negative thinking trap. Instead start your day focusing on something positive. For instance ask, “How can I serve today?” “What opportunities are out there?” “Who will I be blessed to meet today?” “How can I make today great!?” So it’s your choice what meaning you make out of the holidays. The holidays can be connected to stress, frustration, and guilt, or they can be a time to focus on generosity, joy, love, and appreciation. Give the latter a try this year. Lessen the pressure, focus on joy and gratitude instead of whether someone is going to like your gift. Focus on how you can serve others instead of competing to out-decorated your neighbors. When you’re feeling a little “scroogy” remind yourself about what is most important.