Now that Thanksgiving is past us, I’m seeing homes in my neighborhood decorated for Christmas. It feels like the end of the year has come too quickly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the holiday season—with a little dread, if I’m being perfectly honest. I’m not feeling in the holiday spirit. How has it been for you?
Are you going through the motions and decorating just because it’s what you’ve always done? Are you planning parties and accepting invitations because it’s what people expect of you? What if your heart isn’t in it this year?
If your heart isn’t in it,
Take yourself out of it.
Be true to you—because you matter, too!
When Your Heart Isn’t In It
I’m feeling a little bit like that myself this year—that my heart just isn’t in it.
I was talking with a friend the other day about things going on in our respective lives and we both realized that our worlds feel a bit fragile. Things are changing and we don’t have a good sense of how they will end up. There might be a little fear of the unknown going on. There might be a sense of pressure to put on a mask and pretend everything is okay.
This friend recently lost her mother and had been spending time away from her own life and business to work with her brother and sisters to sort through her mom’s home so they could sell it. She came back to her life feeling depleted and unable to refocus. She described herself as feeling “sideways.” Not completely upside down.
Think of a teacup on its side. It can’t hold anything—what goes in comes right back out. Depleted, she was finding it hard to refill her cup.
What might turn her cup right side up so she can change this?
I love the image this conjured, because it got me to thinking about how differently we experience life events that profoundly change us—transitions. It got me to thinking about how we describe them and how we feel them. It could be one major event that rocks our world, like loss or a divorce. And it could be several smaller events that we don’t deal with immediately and they sneak up on us—an empty nest, loss of connections with other mothers, making us question: Who Am I Now?
If any of these events happen around holiday time, it can be especially hard—contributing to down-heartedness, disinterest, and even depression. What we do for ourselves at this time, when we feel like our heart isn’t in it, will make the difference in how we come out of the holiday season. Don’t ever forget that you have choices—we all have choices. And each one of us matters. If we don’t take responsibility for taking care of ourselves, no one else will. Who can care for you better than you? I suggest to you, no one can.
To help you when your heart isn’t into the holiday season, here are three things you can do so care for yourself in a way that only you can.
Three Tips for the Holidays—With a Different Heart
Give yourself permission to do less. Holidays are important, especially when there are young children or grandchildren to consider—and I don’t want to spoil it for others just because I’m not in the mood. I’ve decided, rather than decorating-to-the-nines, as I always have, I will decorate some strategic spots where we spend most of our time. This year, I’ll decorate just for us and make it easy on myself (since my husband still is not able to lift, twist or bend). And I’ll suggest to our family that any entertaining they would like done will have to be done at their home—I’ve even given them the extra Christmas tree. If I’m able, I will cook or bake something and contribute to the festivities, but I won’t be doing the entertaining myself this year. The burden already feels lighter.
Take some special time for you. I have some of my own healing to do. After being a caregiver for so long, still nursing the grief of the loss of two brothers and these being the first holidays without them, and just losing a precious pet, it has been a tough year. I intend to schedule time to sit quietly in the spa, have a massage (or two), spend special time with my HeartMate, Jim, and rejuvenate for what I fully anticipate will be the best year ever. I’m looking forward to these special times that I will put on my calendar—and it’s making me feel in control of the chaos this season can so easily bring.
Stop chasing perfection. This is a biggie for me. For years now, I’ve described myself as a Recovering Perfectionist. The recovery period for this condition appears to be life-long. I thought, by now, I would have conquered this—apparently I have more dues to pay. I struggle with this in my personal life and in my business. I think I’m making huge strides in my personal life, because I find myself saying It’s Good Enough quite often. That’s a sure sign that recovery is in progress. In my business—not so much. If you only knew how many times I have written, read, edited, reread and edited again this very blog post (far too many times). Progress is slower on the business front. Yet, I have made myself a promise to practice It’s Good Enough more often on both fronts during this holiday season—learning from my personal experiences of letting go when the chase for perfection has me winded. It’s time to stop. Breathe. Take a break. Come back to re-evaluate. Release it as good enough. Move on. Ahhhh. (The first time this will be put into practice this season will be when I decorate less—I’ll let you know how that goes!)
These three things have really helped in my own life to feel less stressed about the season. Let me know your best strategies for taking the hassle out of the holidays! With a few more weeks before Christmas, there’s time to share more.