While the holidays are something we all look forward to for many reasons – parties, presents, good food and spiritual connection – it can also create a great deal of stress on our relationships.
Family members get together from far and wide but not all family relationships are the best; yet we do it for the “season”. Parents with small children can be taxed to keep up with all the holiday school activities and shopping for the right toy. For many, even if it is Black Friday or Cyber Monday, who has time to shop? One father this season took his vacation time before Black Friday so he could camp outside the store to get his daughters the electronic toy they really wanted for the best price.
Single adults can get depressed wishing they had that perfect relationship to share the holidays with. Many people are faced with loss and missing a loved one who has passed. This time of year often brings up memories of the past which can create a feeling of nostalgia.
Meeting expectations of yourself and others can take a toll. In coaching people, there is always the opportunity to talk about relationships either at home or at work. Here are some things to consider this time of year to fully engage with the season.
Be the present – Take time to acknowledge all that you have. Even if you are facing challenges, take time this year to reflect and be grateful for what you do have. Each of us are a unique gift to the world and have the capacity to contribute in so many ways. Recognize your special talents and find a way to share them with others. Cooking, writing, building things, artistic talents, maybe even organizing or perhaps just listening to someone else share their feelings.
Perhaps you might think this is “not enough to give” but giving something that is uniquely you is the best gift you have.
Be present – Focus on what is happening around you now. Each day brings small miracles that many of us are too busy to see. Take time for yourself each day to just be in the moment. Sometimes a walk, or just sitting outside and observing nature can relieve stress and replenish the soul. Take the time to really see how beautiful our world is and the people in it. Watch a small child at play or enjoy your pet and experience their love. Take time to be present and really listen to friends and experience their love. Take time to be present and really listen to friends and family as they share with you.
Be in relationship – It is not the present you bring to others, it is the relationship that you have to offer that is the best gift. Take time to make a phone call to friends and family you may not have seen all year or plan time to visit. Sending holiday cards for many has been replaced with electronic messages. However, I love to get a holiday card with a Christmas letter from a long time friend or see the family Christmas picture. Keep your holiday rituals that still create great value and meaning for you.
The winter is also a time of quiet reflection. If there is a relationship that has experienced breakdown, take time to give forgiveness.
Life is all about relationships – because we are all connected. It is the holiday season that reminds us all of the relationships we have now or in our past. May you all have a joyful and blessed holiday season.
Warmest wishes, Barbara