This week is quite busy for Jon and I. We are flying in from having spent the last 2 weeks with friends and family in two different states, in order to prepare and spend time with two other family gatherings that are about 400 miles apart.
It’s a busy time, loads of running around, loads of events to attend for most of us and of course, no matter what you celebrate, inevitably, there will be some sort of dinner gathering or 2 or 4 in your future before the year is over.
Holiday dinners can be daunting, especially when family gatherings have a propensity for getting a bit tense. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be because there is a tense dynamic between family members. Some find that their introverted nature is depleted by the amount of people and festivities that occur during this time of the year. It can also be that there is simply too much going on at once during a time when the natural intrinsic draw of all things is to pull back, withdraw, and rest.
So here, for you, 5 tips to help sooth the possible ruffles of a hectic and overwhelming holiday season.
Despite the overwhelm and surplus of things to do and buy and attend to, this is a time of gathering.
Whether it’s a gathering at work, or a party with friends, or a dinner with family, people you know and like and love are gathering together. This is a gorgeous blessing and remembering that aspect of it, helps mitigate any anxiety or tension you might be having over attending any gathering.
I take this a step further and say that if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, and for whatever reason do not have anything to attend this season, remember the things in your life you are grateful for.
Focusing on gratitude and what you have to be grateful for shifts our mindset tremendously.
2. Feed Yourself Well
I suggest you do this always, but especially now. If you’re feeling run down, hurried, a bit depleted from stressors and too many things to do, feed yourself well. This means that you’re mindful of nutrition, water intake and hydration, making sure that your body is fed the proper balanced meal for you in order to remain as healthy as you can.
Many prepare for the binge fest of the holidays by dieting (aka depriving themselves of food in order to loose some weight) so that the damage caused by over stuffing during the holidays is mitigated. Doing this taxes your body and creates an easier atmosphere within your body for colds, flue or other illnesses.
Feed yourself to stay well, energized and vibrant. Then, keep that up during the holidays when you’re sitting at a table with a gorgeous spread. Choose the foods that are most beneficial to your health AND the most pleasure inducing to your taste buds!
This is critical. It’s important for you to ask yourself and know before hand what it is you are able to do and not do.
How many gatherings is enough for you? How many is too many? Give yourself permission to decline invites that your heart is simply not 100% into. Spending time with people in celebration and breaking bread is an intimate engagement, even if it is a rager! Go where you’re are joyfully drawn to.
This also applies to the more interpersonal. It is permissible and necessary to your personal self care that you set boundaries around topics of discussion you might not feel comfortable having at the dinner table, or help out in a way that might over extend your capabilities and energy. It’s perfectly alright and necessary to your own self care to remove yourself from situations that might not be healthy or loving or respectful.
Check in with yourself now and frequently. What are the circumstances that will give you the most joy filled and pleasant holiday season with others? Set boundaries around anything that might hinder this from happening.
I have a friend with a huge family. HUGE.
Like Christmas Eve dinner at her mothers will typically have about 50 people in attendance. HUGE.
As you can imagine, a group this size has the whole gamut of political affiliations and life style choices. Quite often in the past there have been some doozies of clashes over dinner with politics or god, or some other volatile topic was brought up.
This year, in order to keep the large gathering going without any casualties or months worth of hurt feelings, they all agreed via email that certain topics would simply not be discussed.
This took a bit of back and forth, but the point is, that their desire to be together is much larger than their desire to argue about things they do not agree on. I find this beautiful! So they communicated, they went back and forth and eventually all agreed to talk about things like new jobs, new goals and happenings in each others lives and leave the heated debates for another time.
I am learning more and more that if I communicate my ultimate best wish desire for an interaction with someone, that agreeing to it by all parties involved isn’t nearly as hard as I originally feared.
5. Create Space For Rest
It’s Winter. This is the season for the retreat, the rest and the turning inward. It is counter to our internal pull to spend so much time out expending this much energy. In many ways, it’s perfect that it’s only about 2 weeks worth of celebrations, but it can still be depleting at a time when we are suppose to be focusing on nourishment and rest.
So create scheduled times for quiet, for rest, for low activity, for introspection and for being alone. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but a day set aside to be with yourself, savoring silence and low activity can do wonders for the soul.
I’d love to hear your tips for managing the busy season. Share them here in the comments section. I also wish you a beautiful end of December!