It is that time of the year again – the time when cozy drinks, traditions and the madness of gift giving kicks into full gear. I love the holiday season – I find it cozy and connected – or at least I typically do. I find that over the past few years the season has been filled with To-Do lists that often are longer than seem humanely possible to complete. This leaves me rushing around to accomplish things more so for the sake of accomplishing them then because I feel connected to actually doing said things; like attending Christmas parties because you feel obligated, or buying gifts because it’s “just what you are supposed to do.”
I have noticed for myself that the past few years I have relished in the idea of the holidays without actually relishing in the holidays. As much as I wish I was alone in this, based on what I have seen in my counselling practice these past few weeks (and years!), it seems many others are in the same boat.
While I believe there are lots of ways this has an impact, one of the greater ways is in our relationships. In terms of our relationship with self – we are less present and connected which can increase stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. In our relationships with our partners, it has a greater impact because so many of us hope the holidays will be a time when we will feel connected, and when we will reflect on the love we have for one another. Instead, if we are focused on getting things off of our To-Do list and slide into the holidays burnt out, we miss so much of what the holidays are really supposed to be about (connection, reflection, slowing down) to focus instead on what we tell ourselves we have to do over the holidays.
So with this in mind, and given we are 3 weeks away from Christmas, I would encourage you to ask yourself what you want the holidays to look like and what giving really means to you. Take yourself out for a coffee or a tea and reflect on this within yourself first, and then bring it to your relationship. Ask your partner to do this same. If gifts don’t mean a lot to you, give yourself permission to change things up. Just because something has always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean it has to continue that way. I would encourage you to take this seriously because otherwise I think we lose precious opportunities to really connect and improve our relationship year after year.
Personally, I am going to look at how I can give of myself more this year in terms of quality time and presence. I am going to take time to really sit with a tea and spend time with those I love without my phone and without the pressure to be doing a million things at once, with hope that I will walk away from the holidays with a bucket full of memories and moments connecting.
What are you going to focus on this year? Let me know in the comment section below!