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When you're a child, you think Christmas and the holidays are so magical. You feel like it's so special. You write letters to Santa, put up the tree with your family, bake in the kitchen with mom, and have tons of presents. Then, you become an adult and Christmas is one big giant ball of stress. You have to run around from house to house trying to make sure everyone's Mama is happy, and you say yes to every invitation to avoid ticking anyone off.
Not to mention, your kids stay up way past their normal bedtime, have ungodly amounts of sugar, and forget all the manners they’ve ever been taught. You get caught up in the holiday funk. You’re stuck trying to please everyone and you end up overwhelmed, burnt out, stressed, and frustrated. It’s no wonder you’re in a funk! Duh! Who wouldn’t be, right?
This post is the second post in a 7-part series called Ditching the Holiday Overwhelm. Here are the other posts:
You can enjoy Christmas again. You can enjoy Christmas as an adult without all of the headaches.
So, how on earth do you ever get out of this holiday funk and enjoy Christmas again?
Here are some tips and tricks to help you ditch the holiday funk this year:
1.Create a bucket list/traditions
What are some of the things you want to do with your family this year? Instead of focusing on what ISN’T working, focus on some things you want to make work FIRST. What do you want to do? What traditions do you want to have? Where do you want to go? You can keep some of the traditions from you and your husbands’ younger years and/or create new ones.
What did you and your husband enjoy doing with your family when you were younger? What do you envision your family doing going forward? Keep in mind, these don’t have to be set in stone. If you think a tradition is a great idea, and it turns out to be a big flop with your family, ditch it and get a new one. You don’t have to keep the traditions that aren’t working.
2. Design your ideal Christmas
Don't fly by the seat of your pants. Figure out what your ideal Christmas looks like and work backward (think reverse engineering). Realistically, what does Christmas look like to you? Now, keep in mind, it isn't going to be perfect, but you can get an idea in your head. How many houses would you visit? Would you stay home on Christmas, or go to a relative's house? What activities would you do? Would you get an artificial tree or cut down a real one?
Sketch it out on paper and go over it with your spouse. Look at your bucket list for ideas and inspiration. You can’t have a great Christmas, if you haven’t defined what a great Christmas means to you, right?
3. Realize you’re in charge
You know all of those things you think you’ve gotta do? Let me let you in on a little secret. You don’t have to do any of them. You don’t have to do a single thing you don’t wanna do. You’re an adult and you have agency which means you get to choose. You need to realize that whatever you do at Christmastime is a choice. You don’t have to do anything. This is so freeing when it really sets in.
4. The power of no
You can say no. You should never feel obligated to say yes to an invitation unless you want to. Again, you have agency as an adult, and you can turn down an invitation. Now, will turn down an invitation make some people made and possibly cause an adult hissy fit? Quite possibly! But also know one thing, you can’t control other people. How they feel about you saying no is on them. You aren’t responsible for their thoughts they have about you saying no.
Side note: When someone asks you a question and the first thought in your head is no, don't make them wait, go ahead and tell them no. Don't tell them you'll think about it or all of these other excuses. Tell them no. I can't remember who I heard this from, so I can give them credit for it.
No is a full sentence.
That means you can just say no WITHOUT an explanation. You don't have to explain yourself. You don't have to stutter out an excuse. Just say no and leave it at that.
Constrains are basically rules. Most people get boundaries and constraints confused and mixed up. Constraints are you saying what you are going to do or aren’t going to do. They are just rules you personally go by. Here are some examples of constraints: I don't drink alcohol. I don’t go anywhere on Christmas day. I don’t bake. I go to my company’s holiday party. I always go to my mother-in-law’s house on Christmas Eve. These are all constraints. For a deep dive into constraints during the holidays, read this post.
6. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude can go a long way to get you out of your funk. It can be a great burst of positive energy to help. What you focus on grows and what you ignore dies. Practicing gratitude and wanting what you already have and being appreciative of it really helps you put things into perspective. There is a free Journal Prompts for Special Needs Moms available in the free resource library.
7. Practice self-care
Practicing self-care really helps you love and appreciate yourself. You need to make sure you are giving yourself grace and not beating yourself up. Self-care really helps you love and take care of yourself and that is so important on a daily basis, especially during the holidays.
8. Keep your routines
If you have routines in place, no need to throw them out the window just because it's the holiday season. You might not be able to do the “full” routine, but you can do a modified version of the routine. Routines are meant to change. When you commit to a routine, it's not a lifetime commitment. It's short-term for as long as this fits my current lifestyle commitment.
9. Know your thoughts create your reality
Knowing your thoughts create your reality and how you view things is mind-blowing. One event can happen that is witnessed by 10 different people. If you ask the 10 people for their perception, you’ll likely get 10 answers. Just use this to keep an open mind. Just remember everyone’s out there trying to do their best and you don’t control anyone but yourself. What they are thinking, and feeling is on them. You get to only control your thoughts and feelings.
10. Ask yourself what’s going right, right now
Journal about what’s going right, right now. This will make you come up with a list of positive things that are going on in your life right now. This helps break out of the negativity cycle. You might be in a funk thinking nothing is going right, but when you do this, you realize there are a ton of things actually going right in your life.
11. Do a thought download
A thought download is actually just writing down every thought that pops into your head. Get a notebook, a pencil, and a timer. Write every thought down that pops into your head for 10 minutes. When you think there's nothing left to write, wait. Wait for the time to run out. After the 10 minutes look at what you wrote. As you are looking at your thoughts, ask yourself, “But is this true?”. Sometimes we realize things aren’t as big as they seem or not even true when we see the thoughts on paper.
12. Decrease your social media
If social media is getting you down, stop it for a while. You can delete them off your phone and just reinstall them after the holidays. You don’t have to delete them off your phone permanently, just temporarily.
13. Know it’s okay to have an off day
It’s okay to have a blah day. Life is meant to be ups and downs. It’s meant to have highs and lows. You’re not crazy and there isn’t anything wrong with you just because you are having a down day, even during the most “magical time of the year”.
14. Plan ahead
Planning ahead can help you bust outta the holiday funk. When you plan what you’re gonna do ahead of time, you can see what you have time for and what you don’t. Planning gets you out of reactive mode. You don’t have to constantly react to what is going on. You preplanned it ahead of time. It also takes away a lot of the in the moment decisions. You already have things on your plans. If it isn’t on your plans, it doesn’t happen.
You can get out ahead of the holidays and have a wonderful time. You don’t have to react to everything and everyone. You can create new traditions with your family. You get to decide what your family is or isn’t going to participate in. You get to decide. You don’t have to let other people determine what goes on during your holiday time.