Natalie Clay Coaching here to chat about mama wellness during the holidays! The holidays are a most exciting time of year! Time away from work and our regular routines—and lots of time with family. If that thought brings some unease, you’re not alone! We have a lot of preconceived ideas about how this season should be—and how our loved ones should be—and if we’re not careful we can create unnecessary stress for ourselves.
Here are three simple things you can do to make sure you enjoy the season:
1. Be deliberate in your celebrating
Think about what’s important to you during this time of year and make sure you like your reasons.
Sometimes the things we do for the sake of tradition—what we buy, who we see, how we spend our time—are based on nothing more than the simple fact we’ve always done it that way. If a “tradition” doesn’t have a resonating meaning to you, and instead takes time and adds stressful business to the season, it might be time to let it go. I’m all for traditions that are meaningful, but I am even more for changes that make sense as you and your family change each year. If each holiday is different, great! Remember, there is no way the holidays “should” be.
2. Let everyone manage their own experience
Your only job during the holidays (and always) is to manage you. You can’t make anyone have a wonderful time; you can’t convince your mother-in-law to let go of her judgement or your sister-in-law to be less curt; and you can’t make everyone feel special. Believe it or not, you don’t have the power to ruin the holidays for anyone! Thank goodness!
Our feelings don’t come from what others say or do. Feelings only come from the thoughts we have—so stay in your head and manage your thoughts. A simple way to do this is to keep reminding yourself that whatever anyone else says or does has absolutely NOTHING to do with you. Allow people to have their ups and down during the holidays and keep reminding yourself that your job isn’t to manage anyone else’s mood, just your own. When you manage your thoughts, your holidays can be happy and fun and meaningful—even if others around you aren’t having a similar experience.
3. Prepare with the end in mind
Decide ahead of time what the holidays are going to be like this year. You have more control over this than you think. When you take charge of your experience, you gain full authority over your life. For the holidays this year, I’ve decided to focus more on my kids without everyday distractions. I’m using this time to better know who they are at this stage of their development. I’m going to watch my favorite old Christmas movies (The Shop Around the Corner, It Happened on Fifth Avenue, Christmas in Connecticut and, of course, It’s a Wonderful Life) with my husband—and enjoy my favorite sweets without ever thinking about whether or not I should be eating them! That’s the holiday I’m planning. Everything else will just be extra.
I have some surprises and presents planned for my kids. I’m pretty sure they will like some of them and others they may not. I already know they will get tired and be grumpy. And I know that my mind, in an effort to mess with my holidays, will try to convince me that I should be upset because my kids are clearly entitled or ungrateful—but I’m not going to listen to that. I’m not going to be upset because that is not a part of the wonderful holiday I have planned for myself.
Give yourself the gift of emotional self-reliance this year. Be the person you want to be and just let everyone else be exactly who they are.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
See more posts from our Expert Mama series HERE.