I love The Golden Girls. I have watched them pretty much every night for the last fifteen years. The only exception is November through December when they are off the air (more to come on that below). I was watching the show earlier this week when I noticed a network commercial for a countdown to the holidays. First, I was annoyed because this means that The Golden Girls gets bumped for holiday-themed movies until the first of the year (ugh). Then, I couldn’t believe that the commercial was using pumpkins with Christmas trees carved in them for the countdown. It is starting even earlier this year.
Off into a Tailspin
What happened next is all too familiar to many of us. I ended up thinking about all of the things I need to do with the holidays “right around the corner.”
“What was I going to get everyone?”
“Will I be hosting Thanksgiving?”
“I wonder if this is the year to take Cora (my daughter) to see The Nutcracker.”
“What will I do with the kids while they are on Christmas break?”
And, before I knew it, my tailspin of thoughts about all of the stuff to do caused me to miss the whole episode where Rose and Blanche date Fidel Santiago.
I had missed something I was looking forward to because I was anticipating all of the stuff that was to come in the future.
Thoughts ≠ Actions
It occurred to me that this is exactly what happens during the holidays themselves. Data shows that most of us look forward to the holidays. Specifically, we look forward to spending time with family and friends. But, the same research shows that we actually spend our time during the holidays doing things we hate. In an attempt to do and be everything, we miss opportunities to do the very things we are looking forward to.
Holidays with Intent
With this in mind, I am excited to share a program I’ve put together. It will help you define what you want for the holidays. It will also provide support to help you spend time that way. The program focuses on five different aspect of the holiday season: Purpose/Intentions, Social Connection, Physical Health, Finances, and Community. Throughout the program, I’ll share research about the keys to wellbeing in these areas. I’ll provide tips for integrating these ideas into your holidays. And, I’ll lead a Facebook group so we can support one another and hold each other accountable to living out our true plans for the season.
Stop the Madness
In the meantime, there is something you can start doing right now to help. Become more aware of your thoughts of the approaching season. The first step in changing a behavior is awareness. It happened to me just the other night. I let my thoughts take over, and before I knew it, I was wide awake and coming up with a to do list of items for December. I realized the affect it was having not only on my thoughts, but my body as well. My shoulders were creeping up toward my ears. My jaws were clenched. I was scrunching up my face (and I had just put on all of this anti-aging cream!). The good news is – I recognized what I was doing – and I stopped it. I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself of the intentions I’ve set for my family’s holiday season: to enjoy our friends and family, to prioritize experiences over gifts, to connect with the spiritual aspect of the season through community, and to maintain commitments to healthy routines.
Awaken Your Awareness
So, I challenge you to become more aware. When you see a holiday commercial and you have feelings of warmth and excitement for the upcoming season – take notice. Explore more about where those thoughts and feelings come from. Or, when you’re in Target and start having heart palpitations when you walk past the holiday decorations – notice that, too. Both of these experiences are your subconscious trying to tell you something. This is your first step to making changes to realize the joy that the holidays, and life, can bring.