De-Stressing for the Holidays


Last night I laid awake in bed and felt the familiar pre-holiday stress wash over me. It’s mid-December and I still have Christmas gifts to buy and wrap, a house to clean before guests arrive, and end-of-the-year deadlines to meet at work. And because my days are filled with overtime at the office, events, and parties, I have no idea how I will find the time to tackle my to-do list.

This year was supposed to be different. I have begun to focus on living more mindfully and sustainably. I was supposed to let go of the materialism and stress of the season and focus on time spent with loved ones. Instead, the pressure to give gifts that aren’t from big box stores, to spend time with everyone in my life, and to document my experience with more sustainable living (via this blog) has gotten to me. The holidays seem almost more overwhelming now that I’m trying to make sure that all the gifts I’ve purchased were made by people making a living wage and that the paper I’m wrapping them in is made from recycled materials. I’m trying to do more things right, but clearly, I’m still doing some things wrong.

For the rest of the month (which is also the rest of the year!), I’m vowing to focus on what’s most important, and to let go of what’s not. I will make more room for good by letting go of what is no longer serving me.

Here are the things I will let fall by the wayside:

Perfection. Who was it that said the perfect is the enemy of the good? I need to write this down in giant neon letters on my wall (or better yet, on my desktop background. I mean, after all, I still want my security deposit back). I don’t have to give everyone the perfect gift. In fact, I don’t have to get anyone a gift at all. I would still love my family and friends if they didn’t give me gifts, so I have to assume they feel the same way. Also, all the projects I have going on at work don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be done.

So-Called-Obligations. For the most part, I enjoy holiday parties and events, but when I realize I have three scheduled in one weekend, it can start to feel pretty draining. So I’m going to let myself say “no thanks” and only go to the ones I will truly enjoy.

Guilt. I’m tired of feeling bad about making mistakes, eating too many holiday treats, and not making it to the gym. These things happen and that’s okay. I’m allowed to let them go and move on.

Here are the things I will make room for:

Self-Care. Somewhere between gift-giving and helping clients, I need to remember to take care of myself and my own needs too. Self-care is not selfish!

Rest. This goes along with self-care, but it’s so important that it deserves its own explanation. I’ve been staying up far too late after feeling like I haven’t gotten enough accomplished during the day. Instead, I need to prioritize sleep and accept the fact that I can’t always do everything I set out to do.

Forgiveness. This goes for myself and others. I will forgive myself for not accomplishing everything I wanted to do. I will forgive my colleagues for oversights that left me with more work to do. Letting go of what’s weighing down will free up space for happiness and joy this season (as cheesy as that sounds).

What are you embracing or letting go of this holiday season?

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