Smile: the stress is all in your head

When you think of the Holiday Season what’s your first reaction? For some it’s a rush of anticipation and excitement combined with a flood of happy memories. For others it’s a wrenching feeling that starts in the gut and winds its way up your body, stiffening your back and shoulders, cresting gradually into one ginormous tension headache.  There’s so much to do!imagesCAOOGZ3H

Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Most of us are.

Whatever the Holidays mean to you (or require of you), I have few important messages I’d like to share:

  1. Remember, first and foremost, the Holiday Season is about Love and about people.  Not your gigantic To Do List.  The media has led us to believe that if we aren’t Martha-St_wart-perfect, we are losers. That’s a load of hooey.
  2. As you’re out and about shopping and running your inevitable Holiday errands (in the true spirit of joyful giving and pleasing the people you love), smile and be kind, especially to the poor souls who have to work long hours (on their feet, on hard surfaces) in stores, restaurants, and coffee shops.  There is a place in Heaven for these people.
  3. Lots of parties and gatherings on your schedule?  Attend as many — or as few — as you truly desire.  But I caution you: popping in for 5 measly minutes to dozens of events “just to make a showing” is not the same as truly being present.  Attend or not.  Be grateful for the invitations, but please be realistic and prioritize as judiciously as you possibly can.
  4. Even if you’re not into attending or throwing parties, sending Holiday cards, cooking up a storm, and giving lots of lavish gifts, the Holidays are a perfect time to reach out and tell family, friends, neighbors, clients, colleagues, mentors, and peers how much you care and how they’ve impacted you this year. (If you read my last post, you may have done that already. Good for you!)
  5. Since it’s end-of-year, it’s an ideal time to pare back your contact list and database of connections, followers, etc.  Some people didn’t deserve to be placed on your contact list in the first place.  I mean, do you really know them — or want to get to know them?  Did you have an actual conversation or share a cup of coffee or some other refreshment?
  6. Have a sparse contact list to begin with? This might be a good time to set some goals about how you’re going to expand your network and social circle in 2014. What kinds of people do you want to meet, get to know, hang out with, learn from, and work with? Writing these intentions down is not difficult and is wonderfully powerful. Trust me.
  7. Or try this: spend some time reflecting on 2013 and planning for 2014. What are you most proud of? What were the highlights? What did you accomplish, move through, shift, conquer, celebrate, or survive?  How can you make 2014 absolutely rock?  (These questions make for great cocktail party conversation, by the way.)
  8. Here’s a big one:  resist the urge to send the schmaltzy, show-offy Holiday letters and/or drown your followers in repetitive photos — unless they are funny. Funny is good.
  9. Speaking of funny: if you have the chance to attend an Ugly Christmas Sweater party or a White Elephant Gift Exchange, by all means clear your calendar and GO!  The laughs you will have preparing for and attending these will last all winter long.  I am still laughing to myself about a white elephant gift exchange from last year.
  10. This one is for you:  what do you do this time of year to make the Holidays less stressful, more fun, more meaningful, and more about Love, sharing, and the people you care about? Cocktail recipes are encouraged as are suggestions for funny holiday movies and invitations to Ugly Christmas Sweater parties.

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2 Responses to Smile: the stress is all in your head
  1. Jeanne Guy
    December 3, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    Patti – I’m headed to SC to visit my grandbaby and 7-month pregnant daughter. She called me the other night and asked if I had an ugly Christmas sweater…it’s apparently a requirement for a bunco party we’ll be attending. Guess I’ll be checking out a Goodwill Boutique tomorrow at your behest. Glad to know you think I have something to look forward to! Happy Holidays! 🙂

    • pattid
      December 3, 2013 | 4:33 pm

      Jeanne, you lucky duck! Ugly Christmas Sweater Bunco sounds like a gift that will keep on giving!

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