gmhTODAY 23 gmhTODAY Dec Jan 2018 - Page 75

the RELATIONSHIP dance Make the Holidays Joyful! A re you feeling overwhelmed yet? It can be so stressful when we have expectations for that Hallmark experience. It’s likely that you don’t actually enjoy the moments because you’re fl ooded with too many expectations! What can you do to make your holiday season more joyful? 1 Figure out what’s actually im- portant to you and your family and simplify. Ask yourself and your family what parts of your traditions are important. Is it a particular food? A gathering or party that you share with others? Driving around in your jammies looking at Christmas lights? Attending a service to honor your faith? You might be sur- prised by the things that are and aren’t important. Schedule those things on your calendar early so you can cover the important things. You may need to edit which holiday parties you go to. It’s easy to get fraz- zled when you hustle from one activity to the next. Kids especially don’t notice that they’ve become over tired and start to have meltdowns. It’s up to the adults to manage the social calendar to some- thing reasonable. Some things are traditions that have lost their appeal. Whether it’s cutting down your Christmas tree, holiday baking or exchanging gifts in some circles, it’s really ok to decide to make a change. There may be things you’ve done out of obligation rather than because it’s something you value. I know, easier said than done, but start thinking about Vicki Minerva Vicki Minerva has lived and worked in the South County area as a Marriage and Family Therapist for over 35 years. Her education includes a M.Div. degree from Fuller Seminary and a M.A. what the obligation is about and what you WANT to do about it. Even if you’re not ready to ruffle feathers this year, start to consider what works for you and your family and brainstorm how you want to handle it next year. For example, young families travel- ing to multiple Christmas celebrations might make a decision to stay home and have an open house for others to come to them or ask for alternate dates to gather (not on THE day) to enjoy a less harried holiday next year. Be open if others are trying to do the same. Don’t take it personally. Get creative to make everyone’s lives easier. Check your supplies (wrapping paper, baking items, postage stamps, etc.) and make a shopping list so you can purchase gradually and have them when you need them. If you’re enter- taining, think about what you want to serve and plan on things you can make ahead. By starting early (maybe let those annoying holiday displays in September prompt your thought process) you can ease the time, energy and financial strain before the holidays come. 2 The truth is we live in an affl uent country with more bells and whistles than the majority of the world. You’d think it would make us happier, but it doesn’t. Spending more, doing more, expecting more can actually feed the feelings of discontent because you’re just chasing your tail. Let go of the need for perfection. Happiness isn’t some- thing that you arrive at. It’s something you fi nd along the way. Focus on relationships and spend your time and energy wisely. Be mindful. That’s a way of saying notice and pay attention to things in the moment. There are many delights you’ll miss, many moments you’ll run through, and simple gifts you won’t recognize if you don’t slow down and appreciate what you have. Sincere gratitude can create the perspective that truly brings joy. It’s never too late for a change in attitude. Get organized. There’s a blogger who imagines that she’s going on a cruise for 3 weeks on December 1 st. Her intention is to have most of her holiday prepara- tions done by then. I don’t aspire to that, but I appreciate the mindset that tries to get a jumpstart on some of the things that can be done ahead. If you have children, start to think about toys, games, clothes that they no longer use which can be donated. It always feels good to de-clutter so there is more room and less chaos when new items come into the house. You can get rid of some of your no longer useful items while you’re at it. Make a list of the people you’ll be gifting. Listen, or ask, for things they want as gifts. Strategize from that list what you can afford. If you’ve started early you can watch for sales or distribute purchases over time. That way you’re not stressing out in December because you can’t afford more, or are in debt because you overdid it. 3 Focus on gratitude, enough is enough. You can start now! My goal is to provide you with some information and help you access tools that will help you live your life and manage your relationships in healthier ways. This information is not a substitute for personal counseling and should not be taken out of context. There are many reputable therapists in the South County area should you need additional help. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN december 2018-january 2019 75