Here are some key guidelines you can follow so things to go more smoothly and for you to feel more grounded during the holidays.

how did your holidays go

  1. Choose your perspective

In other words, how do you perceive your holidays going? Write it down. Now consider if this perspective frees you or if it strains you. Work with it until you can land on one that, with all things considered, ensures you can still find joy even if the pies burn, your kid/mom says something embarrassing or all the plans fall through due to something unforeseen.

  1. What do you expect?

Similar to choosing your perspective is being aware of your expectations. Some of you have superpowers that enable everything to turn out “just right”. But what happens when they don’t? Or how about when we expect our kids to all get along or that your parents will not fight? I know it is easy to hope that during the holidays everyone should put their differences aside and just be thankful. The truth is, it’s not always that easy. Lowering expectations around events and interactions can help YOU create a platform of patience and tolerance – one that says no matter what, you can remain present and engaged.

  1. Focus on presence, not presents

What is the greatest gift anyone can ever give? What did Jesus bring and what does He still offer us? Presence. Being in the moment, undistracted. So put down the phones, plan and prepare as much as possible ahead of time, listen more/speak less and begin each day with deep breathing and gratitude in order to set the tone for yourself.

  1. Get outside

No matter what the weather brings us this year, there is plenty of research that marks the physical, emotional and mental health benefits of fresh air and nature. Things feel tense or overwhelming? Make a “state change” by moving around. Are you upset this year due to hardships? Connect with the nature and God through being in Creation. Want a simple way to make family memories? Throw a frisbee, hit a baseball, grab your bike or just see what happens when you hold space for the outdoors.

  1. Let go and Love

Remember that thing that person said or did last year? Or last night? Let it go. For the sake of nothing else but your own heart, let it go. I know; it’s easier said than done, but if you want this year to go more smoothly then take inventory of your heart to determine what you may still harbor that could cause even more hurt. When we have exposed nerves waiting to be hit when “that” person or “those” people say or do something, we lack a sense of control. We become inwardly focused and lose our ability to be truly present. Remember that our Savior was born to set us free; to revolutionize the way we live and interact with one another. Allow Him to show you how to forgive others just as He has forgiven you.

By practicing just one or two of these (starting today) and continuing through the holidays, you may be surprised at just how powerful some of these adjustments can be. Close out your year with the most intentional season you’ve had in years, let love be your guide and you will feel better about how you helped contribute to a more positive Christmastime!

-Sara Hunter

Marriage Family Therapy Fort Collins Colorado