While the upcoming holiday season brings warmness to the hearts of many, it can also bring thoughts of stress.

I would like to take an opportunity to challenge the way you think about the holidays. Especially if you are one of those who sees the season as stressful, and you feel overwhelmed with expectations and responsibilities.

Oftentimes it is our thoughts that are the cause of our stress and anxiety.  So, inspect your thoughts about the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  Do your thoughts automatically go to that of being burdened with how much you have to do? While there are extra things to do during the months of November and December, I encourage you to ask yourself, are all the things that you are doing necessary? Do you do them because you want to do them? Or is it an expectation that you or someone else places on you?

  1. One of the ways families can decide what is important to them during the holidays is to align their “to do list” with their values, and prioritize accordingly.
  2. Another idea is to make decisions about how you spend your time with the meaning that the season has for you. The origin of Thanksgiving is to “give thanks to God.” The reason we have Christmas, is to celebrate the birth of Christ. Perhaps you can consider re-evaluating your traditions to align with the values and beliefs that your family holds. Often we get into the festivities of the season and we forget about the true meaning of the holiday.
  3. Another question you can ask yourself is, “Are we merely enjoying the commercial aspect of the holiday, or are we living out our beliefs and values and making that the priority?”

If there is a tradition that is more burdensome and has no value to your or your family, perhaps you can consider making adjustments. Discuss your beliefs and wishes for the holidays with your family members. As you discuss this with your loved ones, you will learn about what matters to them. It will be an opportunity to highlight the values and beliefs that you want to pass along to your children.

Instead of looking at the holidays with an unending list of things that “have to be done”, I challenge you to make this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season something to enjoy and something that honors your values and beliefs.

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