Overcoming Holiday Overwhelm: Editing the Holiday Activities

Today I’d like to focus on editing your holiday activities.

I used to measure the success of my holidays by how full my calendar was. The above image is from a holiday journal from about 10 years when my kids were younger.   Cookie exchanges, white elephant gift exchanges and neighborhood gatherings filled the blocks on my calendar, but did little to fill my heart with holiday cheer.  Instead they brought on the stress of having one more thing to do, at a time of year that was already stressful enough.  I have to admit I get a little overwhelmed now just looking at the page.  It was no surprise as I read through some of the entries in the journal for this particular year that I ended up getting really sick, most likely from being worn out.

Out of all the different types of holiday editing I have done, editing holiday activities was the toughest, as I discovered my identify seemed to be tied up to some extent in how busy I was this time of year.  If I was busy, then it must mean I was leading a full and therefore fulfilling life.  If I wasn’t, then the opposite must be true.

Over the past few years though I’ve transitioned out of this thinking.  This transition was made possible in part because of a course I took in Presence Based Coaching with Doug Silsbee.  In this course, among other things, we learned to pay better attention to the clues our bodies were providing us with.  I learned the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, which often manifested when presented with an invitation to “come and bring 7 dozen cookies” was not something to be ignored.  I learned to listen to what my body was telling me.  As a result, my calendar is more open and my holidays have been much calmer and much happier.

I am happy to say I no longer measure the success of the holidays by the number of invitations I receive or the events and activities I attend.  Instead I measure the success of the holidays by the quality of the interactions I have with others, especially family. As a result,  I have enjoyed and actually look forward to the holidays so much more.

I’m not saying that what I’ve done is right for everyone.  What I’m requesting is that you consider how holiday activities make you feel and respond accordingly.  Holiday blessings to you all.


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