Every year I send out an email around Thanksgiving about gratitude. Personally, I’m grateful I’ve learned to speak my truth in my thoughts, my words, and actions. Doing so has led me to stress less, laugh more, and enjoy what the holidays really mean to me – spending quality time with loved ones instead of all the other stuffing.
This is the time of year you see all kinds of articles on reducing stress—on blogs, magazine covers, and more. I find most of the articles are more about time management, organizing and prioritizing. The message – get it all done by being MORE …of something.
What I’m suggesting is identifying what you can do less of, rather than more of in less time. Here’s 5 ways I commit to letting go this year and focusing on what’s important. Join me!
1. Stop judging and stop apologizing. That means stop judging yourself…stop judging your guests, or your hosts, or anything else. Someone shared with me that a friend dropped the turkey on the floor taking it out of the oven. She cried all my hard work. Her guests consoled her while trying not to laugh out loud at the I Love Lucy scene in the kitchen. She spent the rest of the night apologizing for what happened, when in reality her biggest holiday disaster turned into one of her (and her guests) funniest holiday memories.
2. Make a not-to-do list – holiday style. If you’ve heard me speak you know this is one of my favorite exercises. For example, “I’m not going to make homemade (fill in the blank)” Buy it at Costco, Sam’s Club or your favorite grocery store. Last year my girlfriend hosted her first Thanksgiving of 25 people! When everyone raved about the gravy she sheepishly admitted (after hiding the containers in the garbage) that she bought it. She got high-fives from all the other women in the room – except her mother-in-law. Oh well, you’ll never make everyone happy. My other friend puts clean the floors before a house full of guests on her not-to-do list because “it’s going to get dirty any way”. Ask yourself, do I really need to do this? The better question is do you WANT to do this? If the answer is no, put it on the not-to-do list.
3. Commit to one. Whether that’s one stellar homemade dish, one special memory, one special holiday gift, or one special decorative touch…one small difference to focus on and enjoy while letting go of all the other stuff.
4. Go to bed early! Tell the truth. How many times did you go to bed at 1am, 2am, or later when you are about to throw a party or have a household of people. I’ve started saying, “they are not coming to see my house they are coming to see me…and if they are coming to see my house…well then I’ll be an example so in the future they can cut themselves some slack!” Remember, it’s about seeking connection, not perfection.
5. Choose gratitude. When you find yourself stressing, instead count your blessings. This is still the cheapest, fastest, way to remember why you’re doing it all anyway.
This may all sound easier said than done, yet small changes in your perspective this season can make you stress less, laugh more and enjoy the holidays. As I’m always open to learning and growing, share with me your best stress less holiday tip below.