The holiday season has officially begun! It seems like most people experience the month of December as a wild and crazy marathon of events, sometimes full of stress or anxiety. Many people are wrapping up their year at work, making appearances at holiday parties, and traveling near and far to visit friends or family. We do our best to navigate this busy time, but it’s easy to get lost in the hustle bustle! Oftentimes, we end up feeling burnt out and like we didn’t get what we wanted or needed from the holidays.
With another week of celebration ahead of us, there’s still time! It can be helpful to take some time to think about what the holiday season means to you and what you wish to treasure and value about this time of year.
Decide on the values that support your vision for the holidays
A value is something that feels personally important to the way you live and work. We’re able to choose our values by exploring what makes us happy and helps us feel satisfied with our life. When what we do is well matched with our values, we’re typically content.
So what are your holiday values? It’s different for everyone, but it’s helpful to get clear on what they are for you. Below is a list of common values to get you thinking. Check them out and decide which are most important to you.
Can you narrow it down to three main values?
What words would you use to describe your ideal holiday?
Now that you’ve narrowed down your values, come up with some descriptive feeling words that help convey what you hope to feel rather than what you want to do. For example, I want to feel relaxed, festive, present, warm, accepted, recharged, and purposeful. What are the things you look forward to around the holidays? When you think of them, how do they make you feel?
Write these words down.
Decide on the feelings you want to experience, and work to find them.
Examine your “wants” and “shoulds,” a.k.a. desires and obligations
The holidays are a balancing act of financial strain, family expectations, and the pressure to keep it all together. In and effort to please and keep the peace, many people manage this by overplanning and cramming it all in.
Take a moment to make two lists. On the desires list, write down of all the things you want to do. On the obligations list, write down all the things you feel you should do. For example, the amount of presents you should gift, the types of meals you should cook, or who you should spend New Year’s Eve with.
Examine what you came up with. How does each thing match up with your values? How does this list compare to the words you wrote down about how you want to feel?