I want to share with you today my 4 tips for maintaining calm during the “Silly Season”.
I LOVE Christmas. Love it. And so I get a little annoyed when I hear people lament how “crazy” the time is and that they can’t wait for it to be over. The thing is, we have control of how crazy it gets. And if we find ourselves wishing away the next day, week or month, it’s time to implement a system for slowing it all down. One day we’ll wish we had. So let’s make this year the kind that we thoroughly enjoy. And let’s make our Christmas season anything BUT “silly”.
1. Remove expectations
Have you ever thought about the subconscious expectations you find yourself trying to live up to? This time of year is the BEST time to evaluate and ditch any you don’t want hanging around. You really DON’T have to change the colours of your tree decor every year. You really don’t have to give presents to every kid in the class. You really don’t have to make those cute reindeer cupcakes you saw on Pinterest. You really don’t have to max out the credit card fabricating a Christmas that has more to do with a catalogue’s picture-perfect images than with your family’s delightfully imperfect reality.
TAKE ACTION: Take some time out today – just 15 minutes will do – and write a list of all the things about this time of year that make you go “ugh”. Can you eliminate some of them?
2. Rewrite the rules
Now that you’ve removed all those expectations that have nothing to do with how your family wants to experience the Christmas season, it’s time to rewrite the rules. Gather the family around and brainstorm what you DO want to do. Do you want to make all gifts this year? Do you want to ditch gifts all together? Go camping? Or swimming at the river? Or play a board game each night for a week? Do you want to visit a homeless shelter together? Spend more time with your church community or take an older neighbour there? Sing carols in the park? Just hang out together with no pressures from a world that wants us to buy more, be more, do more?
TAKE ACTION: Have a 15 minute brainstorming session with your family. Work out how you really want to be spending your time this Christmas.
3. Scale back
So you’ve removed expectations that have nothing to do with your ideal Christmas and have rewritten the rules for what you want it to look like… Now it’s time to scale back. In order to have time, money and energy for the things you WANT to do, you’ll need to remove the stuff that you’d rather not be doing. Take a look at your calendar for the next 6 weeks and remove anything that you don’t really want to be there. Obviously there are some things we don’t want to do but still have to (like visit the doctor perhaps), but there are many things that we can shift off the schedule. It might just mean saying no.
TAKE ACTION: Get that schedule or diary out and be brutal!
4. Look for the little things
When we’re busy it can be really easy to miss the little things. Make a commitment to spend 10 minutes a day just reflecting on the little things in life. This could be in the form of keeping agratitude journal, taking the time to drink a cup of tea while it’s hot, reigniting an old hobby, letting the kids bake with you or sitting down to craft with them. We can’t expect to notice the little things if we don’t look for them, so we have to make a conscious effort to really look. The little things remind us of what is really important and help us to slow down.
TAKE ACTION: Take 2 minutes each evening to reflect on what amazing things have happened throughout the day.
Even if your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you find some of these tips useful, even if not specifically implemented for Christmas. Maybe you could implement them for a simpler 2016 🙂