Life During the Holidays

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Life is precious, but we tend to take things for granted. I have friends and family who recently suffered life altering events, directly affecting my family and making me much more conscious of how precious life is. And now, the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris have given us all reason to pause this holiday season.

The holiday season typically sends my already hustling and bustling mode hurtling into hyperspace, but with all these things conspiring to tell me something about the “big picture,” I am focusing more on the important things and trying to let the smaller things fall to the wayside.

We all feel like there never seems to be enough time to enjoy life or to take the time to do the things that you want to do instead of always hurrying around doing the things you need to do. But with this new perspective, I’m really trying to slow it down.

Our family motto is “Nice Always Wins.” A good friend of mine shared that motto with me when his children were in middle school, and it stuck like glue to my brain, as it is direct and to the point. It isn’t always easy to be nice or to make good over bad decisions, but when I look back on unnerving situations or hard times in my family life, being nice during those stressful times always changed the dynamic in a positive way.

The holidays are filled with merriment and joy, but they can also bring out stress in many different forms. Not only is it important to be nice to others, but it is very important to be nice to yourself. This doesn’t mean buying yourself expensive Christmas presents; it means giving yourself a break regarding the “production” of Christmas and the holiday season. You don’t have to find the perfect gift, create the perfect holiday environment in your house, or serve the perfect holiday meal. Those things can still be important, but your health, mental wellbeing, and loving attitude are all greater gifts to give both to yourself and to others.

So, you may have 1,000 things on your holiday to-do list, but I’m going to suggest adding one more: breaks. This may seem counterproductive to your Christmas plans, but if you don’t schedule your breaks, you likely won’t take them. Every day (ideally twice a day), make sure you take a 20-minute time out. Read a chapter in the book you have sitting on your nightstand, sip a cup of tea, listen to music – anything that isn’t related to your holiday to-do list. Breaks will help keep you refreshed and ensure you don’t get too bogged down with everything you need to accomplish.

Slow down and enjoy the life you have and the gifts you bring to those around you. There will always be obligations to tend to, but reflect on what is important and what makes you happy. We are all very fortunate to have this life. Make it a good one! And remember: “Nice always wins.”