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Living Happier Through the Holidays: Small Changes

peppermint candies

I love the holidays.  Every year I say I am going to take time to enjoy them and before I know it they are gone. This year I am making a commitment to myself to stop, pause and enjoy this time of year.  As part of that commitment throughout this season, I am going to be writing specifically about Living Happier in the Holidays: my struggles, thoughts, and tips for the holidays. I would love for this to be a conversation so please share in the comments or via email any questions, struggles, thoughts or tips you might have. 

Last week we talked about taking some time to figure out what you want from your holidays and how you want them to feel.  Today we are going to talk about implementing small changes to make those feelings and wants a reality.

When we start making changes in our lives, the temptation is always to go big.  We decide we need to do a mediation practice and we start meditating an hour a day.  We choose to workout, and we commit to a 90-minute yoga class 3 times a week. These big changes might work for a period but eventually, they fade off.

Let’s say you want to feel peaceful at Christmas, but you spend the majority of the holiday week with your in-laws who leave you feeling anything but peaceful.  Rather than making the big change of not going to your in-laws start with small changes. Maybe you and your immediate family plan more small events to get out of the house. Maybe you take regular timeouts and plan on exploring the local coffee shops and getting out of the house.

Let’s say you want to feel more festive at Christmas but with all the stuff going on you don’t have any time to enjoy the holidays.   Revisit some of your commitments, are any of them negotiable? Are any of them purely out of obligation and could be left behind? What if you declared one evening a week as a family holiday time and you watched a holiday movie or made cookies together?

What if you want to feel less commercial? You feel like all this holiday has become is presents, shopping, presents, and more shopping.  Rather than say no gifts period.  What if you payed attention to who you were buying for and why? Do you have a lot of obligation gifts? Could you talk to your friends and agree this year you will write a sweet note to each other instead of a gift? Could you give someone a gift of time or an experience rather than a traditionally wrapped gift?

When you know how you want to feel for the holidays, you can then translate to that to what small changes you can make to achieve that feeling.

I would love to hear from you in the comments: What small changes can you make?  Where are you stuck between wanting to feel a certain way and unable to make the necessary changes?

Make sure to check out the previous posts in this series
Intro to the Holidays
Have a Plan
How do you want to Feel?

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