Are you so overwhelmed with life that you’ve lost your Ho Ho Ho? Too many of us allow the holidays to add stress to our already stressed lives. My husband and I decided to skip giving presents to each other this year. It’s just too stressful to come up with a Christmas list. Instead, we’ll focus on the Reason for the Season and our families.
This blog has ideas that can help you get life and the holidays under control. (Note: These tips work year-round.)
Focus on what’s really important
When someone’s under stress in our family, we ask this question to get us back on track. “Is anybody bleeding or dying right now?” If the answer is “no,” it helps us put the stressful situation in perspective.
What’s really important to you? When you are 90, will you remember what gift you got in 2016 or will you remember spending time with a loved one? Or taking a fabulous trip? Or the candlelight service at church?
If you don’t know what’s really important to you, get in touch with your core values. We usually hear about core values in a business sense. Each individual needs to be clear on his or her own personal values. Core values are those values that drive your attitudes and behavior.
For example, one of my core values is enlightenment. I am compelled to learn more myself and to help others learn. That value drives me and everything I do, which is why MentorLoft was born.
Check out our great worksheet on finding your core values.
Make it your holiday gift to yourself.
Focus on your One Big Thing for today
The book “The One Big Thing” (you can buy it here from Amazon) offers an approach for getting in touch with your true priorities. Author Gary Keller (with Jay Papasan) asks:
What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Or put it another way: What’s the one big thing that I, and only I, can do today to accomplish _______?
And what do you have to stop doing in order to meet that goal?
Give yourself another gift and buy the book from Amazon by clicking on the picture below.
Take things OFF your to-do list
With the holidays, people are stressed by buying presents, sending cards, attending parties, decorating and so much more. On whose authority are all those things deemed important?
I relish taking things off my to-do list, especially during stressful times. That’s why my husband and I just said no to Christmas presents for each other. Compiling a Christmas list for ourselves was stressing us out more than the joy we would get from any presents we got.
What are you allowing on your to-do list based on all the advertising and hype of holiday specials? Or based on someone else’s priorities?
Learn to say “no.” That’s another gift from you to yourself.
Give your time and energy to others
When I was in high school, I signed up to tutor underprivileged kids every Wednesday. I did that because it was the “right” thing to do.
Every Wednesday morning I whined and moaned and groaned about having to tutor that afternoon. My mother would tell me to just go and that I’d be glad I did.
And, of course, Mom was right. Every single Wednesday I came home from tutoring underprivileged kids grateful that I had had the chance to really help a child that day.
That experience shaped my attitude about helping others—giving my time, energy and abilities to someone who needed help that I could give.
Are you a giver? It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone or saying “Thank you” to the person bagging your groceries.
My daughter, Allison, likes to tell this story. I’m sharing it to challenge you to reach out to others.
It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Traffic, of course, was a disaster, with people hitting the highways for the holiday. And it was bitterly cold.
I stopped by to talk to Allison at her job at the ice cream store. A homeless woman was sitting on the bench outside the store; she had no place to go. The store manager and Allison had been trying to find a shelter in our neighborhood where the woman could spend the night. The only place we could find was at the homeless shelter in downtown, miles away.
I spoke with the woman about going to the shelter. At first, she resisted, because she said the shelter wasn’t safe. I told her she couldn’t stay outside or she would literally freeze to death.
I finally convinced her to let me drive her downtown to the shelter. She fell asleep as soon as she got in my van. And thanks to the horrible holiday traffic, that usual 20-minute drive took two hours—giving her two hours to sleep in a warm safe place.
How are you sharing your time and energy with others?
You don’t have to be overwhelmed with life
Simplify your holidays and you’ll simplify your life. Make sure the things on your to-do list and your One BIG Thing are aligned with your core values. And look for ways to help others, giving them a little holiday cheer.
You’ll be glad you did.
In the meantime, check out these resources on feeling overwhelmed, but don’t overdo.
Happy Holidays from Pam and the gang at MentorLoft.
© Pamela A. Scott, MentorLoft.com 2016