Relationships and the holidays…the best, and sometimes the worst of all possibilities. Most relationship stressors fall somewhere in between, but our expectations can create frustration, anxiety, irritability, anger, and just plain old stress.
Most holiday expectations begin with hopes for a joy filled connection with family and friends. The best of the best you might say. Far too often, the experience becomes a stressful morass of unmet expectations, never ending tasks, and obligations. The joyful celebration of our dreams ends up getting lost in the preparation for the celebration.
This year, consider starting by taking care of yourself---being self-full, not selfish, but self full. Try meeting your own needs first, in any number of healthy, self nurturing ways. Then move toward meeting the needs and expectations of others as is appropriate. Along the way, take time to relax, meditate, exercise, and breathe. Expect the positive and release the negative. Since form follows thought, releasing the negatives and recognizing and building on the positives impacts our quality of life. Try making note of 5 positives a day. Put them in written form and see where you are at the end of the day, week, and month. Train the brain to search out and recognize the positives, while releasing the focus on the negatives. Come from the heart space first, for love, peace, and joy embody the real meaning of the holiday season.
When events, relationships, and emotions do become overwhelming, seek out a professional, sooner rather than later, so that you can make the most of the holidays. A psychotherapist, counselor, spiritual advisor, any or all of the above, can provide clarity and techniques for getting the most out of this wonderful holiday season. Take care of yourself and enjoy the season.