6 Tips to Help Make this the Best Holiday EverBy Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC
December 08, 2008
Do you have mixed feelings about the Holidays? Learn tips to handle some of the challenges to help shift your Holiday to the best one yet!
Over the years of working with clients there has been a common theme of people dreading the Holidays. There are various reasons for some of the dread like: not wanting to be around certain family members, not liking the commercialization of the Holidays, old feelings that the Holiday can bring up or feeling the loss of someone who is not there for the Holiday. Whatever the reason there is a way to work with it and actually shift the dread into a more hopeful, excited perspective.
Here are some tips to help make this Your Best Holiday Ever!
1. If you have anxiety about being around certain family members--see if there is some family members you do enjoy. Make a plan to spend more of your time interacting with these family members. Oftentimes people have the most fun playing with children--because they are the most loving and open people at the event! If there is no one you would like to interact with--think about not being with family for the whole time and find some friends you can spend more of your time with.
2. Let go of expectations from others to do things a certain way. Decide what the Holidays mean for you and then spend your time honoring this meaning. If it means sharing love and not material items with others---have that be OK. If you don't want to cook - don't cook. If you don't want to go to a certain place - don't go. Spend time in ways that honor what this time of year really means for you--rather then responding to the pressure from others to do be a certain way. I have had clients who have decided to go on a vacation and celebrate the Holidays on a tropical island:)
3. Be Loving with Yourself if Old Feelings Come Up- If you have had Holidays as a child that were painful or stressful - these old feelings may get triggered. Be compassionate and loving with yourself with these feelings and then bring yourself gently into the present moment. Remind yourself that you get to create what you want to experience now and you are no longer powerless over what happens.
4. Honor your grief if you have lost a loved one- If this is a first Holiday after you have lost someone you love - whether through death or a break-up - it is important to be loving with yourself as you feel your authentic grief. Be mindful of not allowing this grief to overshadow your enjoyment of the people you do have in your life-- who you can share love with during the Holidays.
5. Take responsibility for your happiness at the Holidays. Don't hand this over to others and expect them to meet your ideal vision of what should be happening. Let others be just as they are and don't make your fun dependent on what they are doing or not doing. Tune into what you love to do most around this time of year and make a plan to do it. Do you love to bake, look at lights, listen to music, see a concert, have quiet time alone or have a party?
6. Create Rituals that Have Special Meaning for You. Make conscious decisions about rituals that can add depth, meaning and fun to this time of year for you. You can do this alone or with others. This can be simple and fun like going sledding (if you are around snow:) for New Years--or it can be something that has depth and meaning--like mediating on a certain day with a particular intention. Whatever your spiritual tradition - or what this time of year means for you - have an intention to open up to the beauty, love and joy that is available to you at this special time of year.
Copyright 2008 Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC is a Holistic Psychotherapist in private practice specializing in Inner Bonding and Transformational individual counseling, presentations, groups and Workshops. To get her free workbook "What Do You Really Want: Finding Purpose and Passion in Your Life" visit her web-site http://www.RadiantLifeCounseling.com/ or call her at 877-346-1167.
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Think of a short prayer that you would like to say throughout the day. It can be a prayer of gratitude, a prayer asking for willingness, or for grace, a prayer to be an instrument of love, peace and joy. Then focus on saying this prayer as often as you can and notice the difference it makes!
By Dr. Margaret Paul