When I talk with people about the holidays I generally get one of two reactions — “Love them! Can’t wait!” or “Ugh…Yes, the holidays, I’m exhausted already.”
Usually the response leans a bit heavier on the second reaction. Why?
A lot happens during the holidays: parties, shopping, planning (so much planning), trying to wrap up the end of the year, holiday gift lists from our wee ones that have no bounds, being with the pain of loved ones that are no longer with us, personal changes, family conflict, who’s going where, when and how, and how do we not insult “Aunt Betty” if we don’t stay long? Etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Pick your combination. It can all be too much.
I’m hosting this year. Twenty people. I’m super excited. But it’s daunting. Yesterday I started getting all the texts (What should I bring? When should we be there? Can I bring so and so? So and so isn’t coming anymore. Etc. etc.). So, I did what any responsible host would do, I turned off my phone.
Every single person who reached out to me is a rock star. They meant well. Thank goodness for them…. It was me. I was overwhelmed with so much to do, and recovery from last week’s book launch — my brain and spirit couldn’t take it. So I unplugged. And this morning I rebooted.
And what occurs to me is this… there is a lot more that is needed — other than gratitude — when it comes to the holidays. In my mind, here are 5 things to anchor into. Enjoy!
Of course. Let’s get this one handled immediately. Gratitude for EVERYTHING goes in this category. Right now, whether you are hosting or attending, make a list — start with 10 — of things you’re grateful for. You likely won’t be able to stop. Let the energy of gratitude fill you up, fuel you, give you wings. And lead the holiday and the planning from there. Note: IF you find yourself getting stuck on a relationship or someone you have to “deal with” this holiday season, stop. Feel it. Get curious about the angst and what’s driving it. Breathe. And then find something you can be grateful for in them. (Even if that thing right now is that you have an opportunity to learn, show up, and find your way forward — maybe in ways you hadn’t expected — with them.)
#2 & #3. Vision and Intention.
What kind of a holiday do you want to have? How do you want people to experience you? How do you want to feel? What’s the experience you want to create? When I think of my 20+ people at my home this week, I can envision the actual tangible logistics, the food, the set up, the ambiance, the activities… but even more importantly, I can envision the emotional impact I want to create. How I want people to feel when they walk in (loved), how I want people to experience the day (no stress, just joy and connection), how I want them to experience me (as a gracious, grateful, loving host — that does no drama), and how I want to feel throughout (open, expansive, awake, loving). This helps. Just because I envision all of this does not mean it will play out perfectly — but it certainly will help all of us.
#4. Have a Plan.
Yep. In truth, part of the reason I unplugged yesterday was because I was overwhelmed — and it was completely my own doing. Guess what? I could have gotten way in front of that if a week ago I’d been more intentional and sent out “directions” for everyone on what they’re bringing and anything else I’d have wanted them to know. Since I didn’t do that, no biggie — but now I get to clean that up and set it right so we’re all set up for success. So when I wrap this article, I’m pulling out Evernote and sending out directions. Bam. Done. For those of you that wait until Wednesday night — cool — it’s never to late to craft a plan, breathe.
#5. Be Present.
To yourself. To your guests. To dinner. To gratitude. To what’s happening for you as you go throughout the day. In that conversation with Aunt Betty (give her your full undivided attention). To everything. In this moment. And this. And this. Be here now and show up.
It’s been a big year. We’ve all had loss and pain and hard things and devastating things and great things and all sorts of things happen. Tis the season for gratitude, take really good care of yourself and get in there.
Happy Holidays all! X
This post originally appeared on Inc.com on November 23, 2015.
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