Ah, the holidays -- there's nothing quite like them to stir-up a bit of stress as we make those last-minute purchases for the people on our gift list, navigate our way through airport security for our holiday travels, and attend the many parties and social events with our friends, families, and co-workers.
With all of the glad tidings and wishes for a happy holiday being delivered to my mailbox on a near daily basis these past few weeks, I got to thinking that a holiday card wishing me a "stress-free" holiday would be a welcome, and rather appropriate, greeting.
Perspective is a wonderful thing, particularly at this time of year. I'm quick to remind myself what the holiday is all about, to keep the real joy and true spirit of the holidays front-and-center. Doing so allows me to create spaces of peace and laughter in what might otherwise be spaces of frustration and chaos.
How are you handling the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season? When faced with stressful situations, do you take them in stride or do you wrestle them to the ground with reckless abandon, creating even more stress for yourself and for those around you?
With the 2010 holiday season in full swing, consider how you would react to the following situations:
- Out of nowhere, someone darts past you in the over-crowded parking lot at your local mall and takes “your” parking spot (the one you’ve been on a crusade to find for the past 15 minutes).
- Your dear, old Aunt Sally, who you haven’t seen since last Christmas, tells you you’re looking much “healthier” this year and suggests you'd be wise to skip that holiday fruit cake.
- Your employer announces that the holiday bonuses aren’t coming through this year given less-than-expected company earnings.
- The aisle seat you reserved on your “home-for-the-holidays” flight was somehow booked as a middle seat (and, you’re claustrophobic).
Would your response to any of these situations make front page news? Or, would you remain calm and unflappable in spite of these stressful events? Better yet, would you even perceive them as stressful?
It all comes down to choice, doesn’t it? And yes, I’ll admit, a bit of patience too. Part of the choice we make is how we perceive situations in the first place. What may throw me into a hair-raising hullaballoo may have you scratching your head asking, “What exactly is the big deal here anyway?”
While your reactions may feel like a very natural part of your DNA, the truth is, you can unlearn the messy art of reacting and teach yourself the fine art of responding.
Whatever situations you encounter as 2010 comes to a close, Life Touch Coaching wishes you and yours a stress-free holiday and a New Year filled with peace, joy, opportunity, and (healthy) excitement.