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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How to have a "Special" Christmas

Tools To Life - Holiday Expectations


Whether you feel you have ever suffered from holiday blues, we all deal with anxiety in our lives. The end of the year often creates anxiety as we go off our routines and get ready for a new year. This is true if you are celebrating a holiday or not. Let’s take a look at ways we can manage this time of year to create less stress and more happiness in your life.
As we approach the New Year we will talk more about how to create a winning year of 2008, so get ready!

Holiday Expectations
"Tis’ the season to be jolly?" For many the sight of decorations or hearing a holiday song creates an instant cringe as they think, "Not the holidays again." For most of us when we were children we woke up on a holiday morning so excited. The day promised presents, good food and fun. Now as adults we have to buy the presents, prepare the food, and many find themselves alone, which isn’t holiday fun. This result is the holidays create stress or loneliness as they near.

These different emotional states are often called the infamous "Holiday Blues." Blues is a mysterious term. It sounds seasonal like getting the flu: holiday blues season. If you catch it, then you catch it and there's nothing you can do other than wait for it to go through your system. This makes it seem out of your control.

People say, "Yea, I'm feeling a bit off, it's that time of year." However, you have not caught the flu; you simply allowed your mind to drift into a negative emotional state.
Rather than calling that state the blues, let's call it holiday expectations. The emotional overload is created from our own expectations of ourselves, what we expect from others, or what we believe others expect from us.

By learning how to change our perceptions of those expectations, we can take control, enjoy the holidays and be grateful for what we have.

First, change the expectations you have of yourself:
Parties to go to and you want to look good? Do not judge yourself; you cannot make instant changes. Love who you are; your friends and family will always be happy to see you. Avoid overeating and over drinking because this brings on both holiday blues, and post-holiday blues. During the holidays, combat the blues with physical activity-- take walks, play and work out.

Towards the end of the year we tend to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. Don't spend the holidays judging your results, or comparing this holiday to others. You cannot change the past. Today is a new day! Enjoy it. Decide you are going to live your life right now.

Whether you are single or not, the lack of the romantic life can make us feel blue. If you are single, you may not close the year in the heat of romance, but learning to take control will lead towards changes next year. If you are in a relationship do not wait for romance…initiate it.

We have expectations we should be with family, friends or a lover during the holidays. We don't always have that choice and so we feel lonely. Don’t spend your time alone. Instead make a huge charitable donation: give your time to others and volunteer. You won't feel lonely as you put smiles on the faces of the less fortunate.

Second, change the expectation you have of others:

Your expectations truly bring meaning to the saying, "Expectation breeds disappointment." You may expect cards, presents, better presents, attention or a bonus at work. We have all sorts of expectations, but the truth is you have no control over what other people will or will not do. Nothing can ever live up to the expectations you create, but when you don't expect, everything is special and nothing is a disappointment.

This kind of expectation you can make: if you’re traveling expect it to take longer, be crowded and aggravate you one way or another. Guess what, this is the one expectation that works no matter what. If it comes true, you are ready for it. If traveling is only a little aggravating, you’ll be happy. You can’t lose when you expect some obstacles.

Third, change the expectations you believe others have of you:
Don't fall into the commercial trap of getting into credit card debt. If you do, you may not be depressed during the holidays, but just wait til you open the mail next month! Realize that holidays are about the spirit. Give only what you can afford. Write cards, and enjoy free activities.

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