When I was a young mom, trying so hard to make my family’s holidays the happiest they could be, I often inadvertently sacrificed my enjoyment. Like so many working moms, I managed Christmas like it was a work project–complete with checklists for shopping, wrapping, cooking, socializing, and all the tasks that go with trying to live up to the cultural ideas of “the most wonderful time of the year.” Because I was so over-committed, I often found the happiest moment for me was the gift of sleeping in the day after Christmas. No more lists, no more tasks, no more stress. I probably would have continued exhausting myself this way for my whole life, if not for that “aha moment” we all have when we realize our lives are out of alignment with the true reason for the season. Every time I heard those holiday songs and read the cards that promoted beautiful ideas like “hearts all a glow,” “joy of the season,”warmest wishes,” etc. I realized the stress of the holidays was robbing me of the ability to be fully present and happy-in-the-holidays.
Fortunately with age and wellness, comes wisdom. Now that I’ve committed my life to the importance of dialing it down by 20%, it helps me enjoy the season and make myself happier-in-the-holidays. Put into practice, this simply means reducing my time on tasks by 20%. So if I used to give 10 hours to shopping, I now give 8 hours–or less. Its a convenient formula for excellence while living up to the work/life balance challenge that gets especially tested during this time of year. I encourage you to try it too. (see my blog A New Formula for Excellence, August 2016 for additional details)
Fortunately, I’ve also discovered one more simple strategy for being happier, fully present, and in the moment. Much like the wisdom of Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” method for decluttering your life, I now hold all my gifts up to my heart, take a moment to connect with the intention of love behind it, and then slowly and mindfully receive the “vibe of love” the gift represents. This mindfulness practice helps shift the focus from the consuming of presents to being completely present while enjoying the moment. I believe this simple method for being Happier-in-the-Holidays will serve me well for my whole life–and I hope it will be incorporated into your whole life too.
Lastly, as part of my commitment to keep the happiness of the holidays moving forward into the new year, I’m starting the first annual STARS of Wellness Facebook Community Winter Wellness Project. Join me and the STARS team as we promote 21 Days, 21 Ways and 21 Reasons Why we should “Hug It Out” in the first 3 weeks of January. It could be the easiest new years resolution you’ve ever made. Follow this winter wellness project now on Facebook.com/starsofwellness and get ready for what could be a whole new experience of the month of January. (Read my blog, Embrace the Hug, December 2016 to get ready.)