The holiday season is upon us and my mind has already started reeling with gift ideas, menus, travel plans and the like. I have to confess to you (and laugh a little at myself) because I just started reading a book about enjoying the present instead of trying to make experiences perfect. I smile thinking about it because definite irony exists in my choosing a book on this topic during the busiest time of year. However, as I reflect on it more I think I subconsciously knew this is the EXACT time of year I should be reading this book.
Let’s be honest, magazines, TV commercials, websites and holiday movies that come out this time of year all portray the holidays as this magical season where everyone is polished, put together, happy and hosting picture-perfect dinners with the most beautifully and presumably homemade food we have ever seen. We all know what we see in the media is not reality. And yet, for some odd reason, many of us will still try to obtain the standards set before us—standards that if we are honest nobody is able to meet.
So, how do we free ourselves from the idea that everything has to be “just so” to be special or meaningful this season? I will let you in on a little secret: I have a mantra of sorts that helps me do just that—forget about unreasonable standards and enjoy the moment right before me. I will share that mantra with you in the personal blog on this topic. However, for now let me suggest that the first way to free ourselves from frustration and disappointment during the holiday season is to “not believe the lie” we see in ads and on TV.
The holidays are busy, hectic, financially stressful, often filled with colds and sickness (especially if you have little kids) and sometimes “force” us to make contact with people who trigger us emotionally or at the very least are people we would never choose to spend time with except at the holidays. We must reject fantasy and adopt a new mindset that the holidays ARE a wonderful, memory-making time of year, but are also a little messy and that is OKAY. We have to lower our expectations and decide what is “good enough” and then embrace and lean into every good moment that does unfold because there will be good moments.
This time of year can be extremely stressful for many people, especially if you are missing a family member or loved one or dealing with some other form of grief or trauma. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or any other life stressor please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with a trained and licensed psychotherapist.