It’s hard to keep the peace but especially during the holiday season. I happen to be one who loves the holiday season for the beauty and wonder it brings. I love the simplicity of the Flagstaff Star every year on Veteran’s Day here in Boulder. The lights and color, the evergreen fragrance, the tree, music, community sharing and meaningful time with family and friends bring joy to me. Any reason to bring love, joy, peace, generosity, goodwill, and connection to others is great.
What Are Some Challenges to Keep the Peace during the holidays?
The image of the “ideal” holiday- whatever that means in décor, tradition, and festivity can dominate and increase anxiety.
Heightened emotion unravels and intensifies:
This causes even the most loving of relationships to need “do-over” moments. Regrettable things, though unintended can be hurtful.
Somehow, rather than savoring the goodness of the season, it is easy to get overwhelmed. This can turn into a burden rather than a joy.
Deeper Challenges Faced During The Holidays
Grief and Loss can be Magnified:
For those who are enduring death, divorce, health or increased stressors and challenges, this time of year can magnify the sadness and loss. Because it can be so challenging to cope, you may feel you need simply to “cocoon”. Bring on the warm soup, tea, and blankets. (It’s no surprise that weighted blankets have become quite a “thing”) Give permission to do exactly what you need. Reach out for support to avoid isolation.
“Tis the Season” There may be many additional invitations and events to choose between and support.
Shame from feeling “not enough”:
Where there is “lack” there is a shame trigger. Orphaned parts of ourselves can truly raise their sad, angry or needy head. These parts are beckoning to be loved, especially during this time. Comfort and joy can heal from our increased kindness to self with hands over heart.
The holiday season can put undue financial pressure on families. We clearly need a redefined and designed vision that focuses more on worthiness, simplicity, homemade, natural abundance and generosity. Don’t compare. Stay in your lane.
How Can We Cultivate Peace and Joy During The Holiday Season?
I believe this is a season that ultimately celebrates light, love, and birth.
The light within illuminates through prayer and meditation, stillness, peace, and reflection. The light within can provide leadership, clarity, compassion, and calm. It can help us discern and make choices that align with our needs and values.
I have gathered thoughts and suggestions from clients, family, and of course my own experience, humbling as it may be. Thank you to all contributors.
Here they are:
Create a Vision
First of all, how do you want to feel at the end of the season and as you go through it? Would you like to feel calm, connected as a team with your partner? Likewise, would you love more time cuddling on the couch?
Complete the sentence…what I would love would be…..or wouldn’t be nice if……..
Prioritize Well-Being :
Self-care is of paramount importance. In busy times, it is the thing most likely to be sacrificed. Maintaining healthy nutrition, exercise, mindful practice, social support is so important. Because of this, prioritize your most important relationships. Turn toward and stay connected.
Be Clear :
What is important to you? No one can read your mind. Share how you would love for things to look and be.
Let go of the stress and bring laughter, joy, and playfulness. Dancing around to your favorite tunes, or flirting with one another through any task can ease tension and increase connection.
Find the Free Events :
There is so much offered for a low-cost budget to enjoy. Concerts, outdoor events, game night, cookie decorating, or peaceful evenings at home are all accessible.
Spread It Out:
Not everything needs to be celebrated in a three-week window. Planning something in January or later for friends or gatherings could be a great way to have something to look forward to.
Navigate imperfect moments:
There are bound to be plenty. What we focus on expands, so focus on the positive experiences, rather than disappoints. If there is a SNAFU or rupture between people- do this:
Slooowww Down, Stop, Breathe, Choose :
The next best response and reparative gesture or comment is a choice from a place of calm, kindness and clarity. For this challenge, regulate your EQ and nervous system. Stopping and take 3 deep breaths can help us during times like this, rather than “flipping our lid”. Take a time out with the reassurance of coming back.
Furthermore, harmony, disharmony, and repair are processes important in daily life for the myriad of small conflicts we run into. Let’s be masters navigating these imperfect moments.
“Harmony. Disharmony. Repair”. Terry Real
Repair, Repair, Repair:
If stress or personalities get entangled, words cross or regret sets in, apologize and reset. Consequently, we need to let go of grudges, resentments or comparisons. Let in love, empathy, respect, difference, and understanding.
“Imperfections are not inadequacies. They are reminders that we are all in this together.” Brene’ Brown
I love Brene’ Brown’s book. The Gift of Imperfection. Imperfection is actually what bonds us together. Let’s handle it gracefully and with ease and reassurance rather than rupture and disrepair, gossip, division, and separation.
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I wish all a Peaceful, Joy and Love- Filled Holiday!
Brene’ Brown, PhD. brenebrown.com
Terry Real, Relationship Therapist, terryreal.com