Let go. Ok, there’s some real talk in the midst of all the joy, sparkle, warmth and excitement of the season. The holidays are incredibly stressful. I know, not breaking news. But I guess what I’m learning over time is that they are stressful if we let them be. Of course and more so ever since having my own kids, this time of the year is my absolute favorite. That joy, those sparkles, the warmth and omg, all of the excitement…that’s what does get to me in a good way. I become excited but there is also a huge sense of being overwhelmed, over done, over it. All of IT. The struggle is real. Not to sound like a downer, but it happens to the best of us. When I started to get down this year and overwhelmed, I took a step back. I do this all the time but this year, especially because of an unexpected illness in our family…I really took a step back to understand what should spark that joy and keep those negative feelings out. It’s really in my hands to keep my mind in check.
When you look at what can become overwhelming especially this time of the year…it boils down to time and pressure. Time for giving, shopping, prepping, planning, packing, feasting, decorating, wrapping, gifting, that elf!! And doing all the daily stuff that needs to get done too. But if you regroup, prioritize and reduce your own pressure to get certain things accomplished or be a part then that incredibly overwhelming feeling of panic and stress…you can get that feeling in check.
For me, this year…I kind of was forced to let go of that stress because I had no choice with family stuff taking the forefront. This year, I had certain visions of how the house should look, the new trees, ornaments we would get, all of the decor and the parties I was going to have for our first true holiday in our new home. The new cookie recipes to try, the perfect presents (is there even such a thing??) None of it really happened and that was ok. Because what did happen was better. Although those things will happen in the future, for now the main priority was to reduce the stress. And the holiday stress for sure has been cut down to an all time low. The major reason for that = I let it go.
What exactly did I let go of?
Let go of the vision of perfect any and everything
The perfect gifts did not happen. The perfect gift wrapping did not happen. The perfect holiday card did not happen. But so many priceless moments…those have and will continue to happen. I may still send out holiday cards, but I took off the pressure to get that perfect image. Or get them out in time. If I get to it (which I admit, I still want to) then I will. Otherwise, I am taking that pressure off too. And if it happens next year, it will. For now, I am going to actually just enjoy the moments we have together while the boys are on break.
Let go of the endless shopping
I did not partake in Black Friday. Well, I confess, there was a slight bit of online purchasing. But it was stress free and done at the end of the night once everyone was asleep. I got a few things I had my eye on. Truthfully, it’s all going back because none if it really ended up working. But it’s one thing that I just do not enjoy. In my mind, it’s a nightmare that I just do not want to be a part of. And now with Christmas a few days a way, I still do not want to venture into a store to buy presents. Online is really the only way to go with this and has reduced my stress with this. But even aside from in store or online, the point is to reduce the shopping period. Sure, everyone enjoys a present or two. And for the kids, yes I get it. I want my boys to have a few things they have been asking for to open on Christmas morning. But this sense and pressure of buying and buying and buying. What is it for really? Focus on the experiences not the materialistic. Those are the things we need to remember. Because we all get caught up in it and it’s up to us to help each other shift the focus back to what’s important when we inevitably get out of line.
Let go of saying yes to everything
So part of this season are all the parties, the social fun, the get togethers whether scheduled for months or last minute. The eating, the drinking, the deserting. Oh the deserting!! It’s about that quality time with those who are important to you….all the family and friends. Making time. But this year, we seriously cut down on all the social stuff. Again, part of it was secondary to the fact that there was a health scare in the family but I’ve been wanting to say no for awhile. And I have been. Even before the holidays, as a family we have been cutting down. We want time for just us. For ourselves. It’s important to be able to say no and let go of saying yes to every single social invite. Spend quality time with those you want to when you can. Prioritize and make the best of the time you have. Let go of hurting feelings. Just be transparent. Of course there are certain obligations, we all have those. But within reason and the scope of what feels comfortable make sure to make time for yourself and things that really matter to you. Don’t be afraid to say no.
Let go of working
In a few days, I will be off til the new year. This week has been a challenge because I have been working with both boys off from school. And so of course my attention was not truly on them. But once the 23rd hits, I am off and I will shut it all off. Of course my ‘real job’ it’s easy to turn that off when we are on break. But I intend to also take the pressure off from blogging and being on social media as much. It’s part of this job that I love so much. But when I am constantly trying to get the perfect image or even just an image of whatever family time we have or really whatever is going on in our lives, it’s annoying to the boys. My husband is like ‘another picture?!’. The boys are tired of it too. And then I stress out because I need to post something somewhere and we lose the moment. I need to practice really shutting down and taking off the stress when I do. In a few days when we are off – I will try my best to really be off. And when I do get on, I will not worry about the perfect image going out into the world. I am going to let it all go.