Holidays can be wonderful, relaxing, stressful and chaotic, and most of us very recently got a taste of all of the above. Every year after the big number on the calendar changes I find myself evaluating the holidays, comparing them to the previous year and finding both regrets and resolutions in the process of reflecting on the year as a whole.
Many of us have a tendency to put excessive pressure and expectations on the end of year holidays, and even if we manage to resist rampant consumerism and the idea that everything has to be perfect, we still find ourselves wanting things around the holidays to be special, and because of that they usually end up feeling forced.
The best way to move through and enjoy the holidays most effectively is to be present, even tempered, and to drop all expectations that everything should be perfect. Everything will never be perfect, so when multiple kids from the church christmas program get sick and can’t perform, you happen to get into an argument with a family member over something that doesn’t matter, you feel bad about your lack of disposable income that would allow you to buy everyone you care about the perfect gift, you celebrate without traditional holiday decorations in the middle of a home renovation, or have lingering mental health issues that make you worry about everything all the time, that’s life and its okay. Drop expectations of how you think things should be and relax, be present, and create new memories and traditions that you could not have possibly anticipated or planned for instead.
time is personal
I never make resolutions for the new year around this time, but I do make them throughout the year and work to stick with them to the best of my ability. The key to successfully doing this is developing a certain behavior, practicing it long enough for it to become habitual, noticing how whatever it is that you are doing is improving your life, and then forgiving yourself on the rare occasion that you happen to miss your bedtime, don’t go to the gym, hit the snooze button or accidentally eat garbage, and instead of beating yourself up about those things just do and be better the next day.
Over the last few years I have managed for the most part to stay on top of my work and personal priorities like a legitimate adult. I have overcome procrastination, not entirely, but to a degree that my younger self would never have even considered a possibility. I recently took an account of the amount of hours I
spend waste on things that are the absolute worst use of my free time, and aside from wanting to analyze those activities, I mostly wanted to know what that number looked like. It wasn’t pretty.
I have always had a problem dragging myself out of bed in the morning, and not necessarily because I’m tired. I personally only need about seven hours of sleep in order to function, and whenever I realized that that number in conjunction with working hours left me ten hours each day to do whatever I want it blew my mind. The reason I don’t want to get up most days is because I’m doing it against my will based on the hour my employer expects me to show up at work. For anyone who can relate to this, let me reveal my discovery of how to shift that mindset. Instead of waiting until you have to get up in order to make it to work on time, try getting up a few hours earlier whenever YOU want to, and have a few hours of personal time before you have to leave the comfort of your home. I swear this will transform your life.
While these changes would be more easily incorporated by people like myself who don’t have any children or jobs that require 50-70 hours of work per week, they can still be applied under those circumstances to a certain degree without sacrificing sleep, rest, or doing what you love any less than you are able to. Utilizing personal time is incredibly important, and I would encourage everyone – regardless of your situation to analyze how your personal time is spent, and if you could be spending it in a different way that makes you healthier, happier and less stressed to consider finding how to make that work for you.
Happy New Year!