Thanksgiving begins a chaotic spiral of holiday events, gift shopping, decorating and cooking until New Years Day. In past years, I haven’t been able to enjoy Christmas or New Years Eve as much as I would like to because of poor planning. This year, I am committed to thriving during this season. If you have the same struggle, I hope that you can apply at least one of these five simple steps to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.
Plan Your Holidays, Be Intentional
Whether you are a student, a parent, or a full-time employee (you may be all at once) you need to evaluate what are your non-negotiable priorities. Write out the commitments that you need to fulfill in the month of December. Take out about 15-20 minutes to list these priorities on paper or on your phone. It is important to make a budget and stick to a planner or an online calendar.
Next, ask yourself, what is your best yes during this season? What are things that make you feel joyful about the holidays? What are you passionate about? Make time to focus on those things as well. You might want to do voluntary work or spending quality time with family and friends. Maybe you want to host a party or make thoughtful gifts. Acknowledging your goals during the holidays will help you to see what you should focus your thoughts and energy on. When we are not intentional about our priorities, we can spread ourselves too thin, doing too much and at the same time not do enough. We need to prioritize our time and plan accordingly so that we are not burnt out.
Burn out is not a sign of success but of imbalance. Its important for the holidays to add to your life not deplete you. This process of evaluating your commitments and your wants can help you to simplify this time of year and aid in understanding your limitations.
Self Care Is Important
On the quest for the perfect gift, the perfect party outfit, the highest grade in our finals, we tend to lose ourselves in the hustle. Do not neglect to do something that gives back to you. Take at least an hour one day a week to practice self-care. If you give back to yourself, you will be able to perform in your current roles better.
Try not to neglect sleep as much as possible or have a sleep catch up day planned once a week. Use that time to do to positive things that are offline like reading a book, cleaning your space or taking a bath. Commit to giving your all at work so that you can then commit 100% to your rest time without distractions.
If you make self-care a part of your routine your body will become accustomed to it. I see that when I let myself have one day to rest I am a better person because of it. When I do not take care of myself, I am giving other people and commitments a lesser version of myself.
Carve Out Time to Bless Others
While it is good to prioritize time for your obligations and goals, there is nothing that fills the heart with joy like being generous with others. For me, it is easy to get into a mindset where it becomes about material things instead of what Christmas should be about. Giving a portion of your resources and time to a cause that helps others change your perspective on the holidays. It helps you to reflect on your blessings and how you can bless others instead of what you want and need.
If you have not had the opportunity to be generous with your money or time, take a day out of your schedule to help someone. These actions will not only bless others but it will change your attitude and your focus. This season won’t be defined by material things but by the things that truly count.
Start a Tradition or Continue an Old One
Starting a new tradition can be helpful if you live far from family and friends, if you are a newlywed, or might be suffering the loss of a loved one. If you find yourself feeling down and stressed during the holidays, why not make a new tradition or continue an old one. Even if you are not experiencing the situations mentioned, making new traditions reintroduces the fun into a crazy season of the year.
When I lived with my parents, December was a very chaotic time because it was the end of fall semester in college. I made time to decorate the tree and set up Christmas decorations with my mom. I love Christmas decor and helping her choose a theme for the house every year made me excited for the holidays. Now that I am married, I make decorating my apartment a big deal. It brings me joy to choose a theme and buy decorations. It might not be the same for you. Do what makes you excited for the holidays, whether its something old or new.
Let Gratitude Be Your Attitude
If you do only one of the five things listed, commit to experiencing these holidays with a grateful heart. If gratitude dictates your perspective then you will not have expectations based on the result of circumstances. Living on the basis of gratitude is showing gratefulness to God for all the blessings you have received.
When you live from the abundance of a grateful heart, you live content whether you get one gift or 100. It will already be enough to celebrate because you already have what you need. I have spent many holidays disappointed about what I did not receive as a gift instead of reflecting on what I have. As a consequence, I was never happy. Relying on material things to bring contentment will leave you disappointed and distracted. Commit to reflecting on gratefulness and experiencing a content heart throughout the month.
How are you committed to thriving this holiday season? Comment your suggestions and thoughts below. I would love to read them.
The Best Is Yet To Come,