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December 15, 2015

How to Feel More Joy During the Holidays (By Doing What we Want).

Flickr/Nick Nguyen

You know how we’re always told that the holidays are about giving, caring and doing for others?

Well—I think that’s total crap.

Before you go thinking I’m a miserly scrooge, let me explain.

I think it’s fabulous to love and care about other people—and it’s even better to actually show others how much you care and love them by giving graciously.

But when we operate our life—and the holiday season, in particular—based on the principle that we must always be giving or doing for others, we end up neglecting our own self-care.

When we lack a strong self-care routine in our life, we’re unconsciously showing ourselves on a daily basis that we don’t think we’re worthy of love or deserving of time and attention.

So, for example—if you squeeze every holiday activity into your schedule, when you’d rather spend time at home with your family, then you’re actually putting other people’s interests ahead of your own.

By regularly making these types of choices—where we respect other people’s interests more than our own—we burn out. Fast.

Burnout comes from giving out of obligation instead of love.

When we’re burnt out, exchanging gifts with the friend we’re not very close with becomes a chore to check off our to-do list. Baking a homemade meal for the family’s get-together becomes a dreaded task we must manage.

Fortunately, there’s better way to handle the holiday goings-on.

Before you commit to any type of holiday to-do, ask yourself these two questions:

1. Do I really want to?
2. Can I do this activity with love?

If you answer “no” to either of these questions, then bow out of the activity. Don’t exchange gifts with every student in your kids’ classes. Don’t make that holiday craft you found on Pinterest.

Because if we don’t approach activities with love and joy, we begrudge every moment we’re involved in them.

Essentially—without consciously choosing to participate through love—we end up feeling frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed and probably anxious. And everyone around us senses that heavy energy—especially our kids and family.

That’s why we must answer those two questions before we make an appetizer for the neighborhood holiday party. Before we mail Christmas cards. Before we agree to meet up with friends for a holiday dinner.

The holidays aren’t about giving, giving, giving. They’re about being mindful and aware of our true desires and giving out of the goodness and love that exists in our hearts. Not obligation.

By operating during the holidays from a place of love, care and sincere generosity—we will actually bring in more joy and happiness to each and every activity we participate in.

We’ll also feel calmer and more peaceful each day, because we won’t be over-committed. And the whole holiday season will feel much lighter and more enjoyable.

Isn’t that the kind of holiday we’re all wanting to experience?

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Relephant:

Holiday Hype and (Un)Happiness: 5 Ways to De-Stress the Holidays.

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Author: Dina Overland

Apprentice Editor: Sara Kärpänen/Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Nick Nguyen

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