Reclaim the Joy of the Holiday Season

November begins the start of the holiday season.  For many, this time of year can be hectic, sad, overwhelming, uncertain, sad, and a host of other challenging emotions.  I am offering seven simple steps you can take to reclaim the joy of the season.

Step One:

Create a clear vision of how you want your holidays to be.  Decide in advance what you want to do, where you want to be, and who you want to spend the holidays with.  Self-inflicted stress can be minimized when we intentionally plan and prepare for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year.

Step Two:

Plan ahead.  Set your priorities so that they align with your vision.  Don’t wait until the last minute to meal plan, shop, send out invitations and greeting cards, and decorate.  Get your calendar out and schedule the time you will need to navigate through the holidays smoothly.

Step Three:

Remember, you are in charge of your schedule and how you spend your time.  Put your phone and other devices down and use the time to do a few things on your list.  Now is the time to invest your time wisely instead of frittering away precious moments scrolling through social media, watching TV, and doing activities that you don’t want to do in the first place.

Step Four:

Say NO!  No is a complete sentence.  There is no need to explain yourself.  Have the courage and discipline to say no to activities not aligned with your holiday vision.

Step Five:

Say YES!  Once you have committed to turning down the things that align with your vision, you will have time and energy to say Yes to items that are consistent with how you want the holidays to pan out.

Step Six:

Communicate your vision and seek support from people who can assist you in achieving your vision and hold you accountable for realizing your desired outcome.  Include your family and friends, and don’t be shy about asking for help.  People like to help others, so let them!

Step Seven:

It is no secret that things don’t always unfold as we expect.  Here is where flexibility can save the day.  Be ready to make slight course changes and adjustments when your vision gets disrupted.  And trust that sometimes things don’t go as planned for good reason.  The hiccups along the way might be blessings in disguise.

And, of course, be patient with yourself and others.  Give yourself grace and extend your graciousness to those around you.

All the very best to you and yours as your start this journey into the holidays.  And since November is the month of Thanksgiving, remind yourself each day of the things you are grateful for in your life.