12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings

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The Wishful Thinking Works “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings” can help you avoid prickly moments!

If you are heading to a family gathering this weekend but do not see eye-to-eye with all of your loved ones about touchy topics such as politics, religion, child-rearing, sports, lifestyles, or even the weather or who should bring what – this post is for you.

I am sharing my Wishful Thinking Works version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”which I wrote in 2010 after being inspired earlier in the year by author and life coach Marianne Ford. Marianne reminded me that being right isn’t a right and sometimes conversations and life go better when, instead of sharing our wisdom, opinions, advice, or rebuttals – we simply listen and respond with a friendly, “I hear you.” or a non-committal but respectful “Ah- huh,” Wow!” “Okay,” or “Really?”

In other words, when respect is present agreement is not a necessity. We can change our experience and the conversation by using Marianne’s tips to transform debates into discussions and boring exchanges into interesting encounters. 

I can use a bit of help around this time of year, so I wove Marianne’s thoughts and some of my musings into . . .

“Wishful Thinking Works’ “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings”

On the 1st day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me patience for the party,

On the 2nd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 2 sacks of courage.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 3 “Ah-huh’s.”

On the 4th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 4 smiling nods.

On the 5th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 5 “Oh, that’s great’s!”

On the 6th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 6 “Tell me more’s.” 

On the 7th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 7 “That sounds interesting’s.” 

On the 8th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 8 “I-can-do-this’s!”

On the 9th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 9 “Okay.” “Wow!” “Really’s?”

On the 10th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 10 “That sounds so frustrating’s.” 

On the 11th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 11 “Oh my gosh’s.”

On the 12th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 12I got through it! I am so happy!”

Feel free to share my new holiday classic with your friends and family. It may help everyone’s holiday shine a bit brighter and feel a tad merrier.

(In case it comes up at a holiday gathering, the twelve days of Christmas are the evening of December 24/January 6 or December 25/January 7 – depending on the calendar, Julian/Gregorian, you are following.)

And, if you are now trying to remember the original lyrics to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”  here they are . . . 

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree!

Happy Holidays!

 

Hello, Beautiful!

Monkey mirrorStudies show simply hearing a compliment, such as “You are beautiful,” even from a perfect stranger – can brighten your day.

Why wait for someone to tell you that you are beautiful? Why not start each day by looking into those sweet little eyes of yours in the mirror and sharing a “Hello, Beautiful” with yourself? 

Telling yourself you are beautiful, is an act of self-compassion. Saying it out loud is a act of courage, and can reduce your holiday stress by putting a smile on your face and maybe even a bit of merry in your mood.

Don’t worry if you feel shy, or even embarrassed; keep up the practice and you will feel the joy. The happier you are, the more likely you will be to notice the beauty in the people and the world around you, which is a true expression of the holiday spirit. And, you can share your joy by letting others know how beautiful they are, which is the perfect gift for strangers or your loved ones.

Start today, and by the New Year you will be welcoming 2019 with a brand new perspective to keep the good feelings flowing throughout the year. 

Give it a try, Beautiful, because you are gorgeous, inside and out, and you deserve to hear it much more often.

If you are still hesitant to give it a try, check out this video,  or this one, or this one, or even this one, to see people’s happiness when they are told how beautiful they are. It is heartwarming and my holiday gift you to, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile!

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Measure what matters

Knowing what matters to you and focusing on it can make your holiday season richer, more memorable, and way more fun!

Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to fill our holidays with strife and worry and thoughts of who gets what and who doesn’t; who gathers where and who doesn’t and what gets done and what doesn’t, we drown out much of the joy of the holiday season before it even has a chance to surface.

We layer our lives with so much stress that when magical moments appear – the kids playing quietly in front of the lit Christmas tree at dusk, an unexpected card or gift from a loved one, watching a child help a grand parent, a heartfelt hug or the mention of how much we mean to someone or even the kind gesture of a stranger – we barely notice or bother to savor them.

The good news is, studies show that what we focus on tends to grow. Therefore, if we focus on what really matters to us, we can increase the likelihood that those things will move center stage in our lives because we will be more likely to notice and enjoy them.

Start by asking yourself what really matters to you.

Christmas Holiday (2)What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season?

What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season?

In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? Religion? New Experiences? Traditions? Food? Fun?

Once you know what matters it will be much easier to notice those things and begin planning ways to integrate more of them into your holiday plans. And, with practice you will soon be sloughing of the stress and slights that normally occupy your mind.

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, use one of these suggestions.
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit. (Next year to spread the joy, you can make gift jars or chain supplies for other family members and share them in November or early December!)
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like life is moving too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post was adapted from an previous year’s Wishful Thinking Works post, because I loved it so much and it was a great holiday reminder for me!

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Each moment

The Thanksgiving Slump

Does this sound familiar?dog-1926763__340

You’ve spent the past two days eating way too much, and you’ve been beating up on yourself for almost as long. And now, you are making promises to yourself you can’t possibly or won’t keep. “I’m not going to eat anything today.” “I’m going to fast and just drink liquids.” “I’m going to go to the gym every day this week!” “Just water for me, please.” Or, you’ve already thrown in the towel and decided to spend the next few weeks eating anything and everything you want, since you’ve already blown both your diet and your good intentions.

If I’m reading your mind, take a deep breath.

That’s good, now take another one. Belly breathe, which means you not only inhale through your nose and fill your chest with air, you fill your stomach, as well. Pause and exhale slowly and a bit longer than you inhaled. Now, merely note “I probably ate more than I should have.” Follow with another deep, belly-filling breath. “Yup, I did.” “I wish I hadn’t, because now I feel bad about it.” And, breathe . . . Take two more deep breaths.

The deep breathing gives your brain enough time to focus on what you are saying and feeling, and will relax you even if you were feeling guilty or frustrated a few seconds before. Resting your brain also gives it time to readjust and switch gears, and that’s a good thing.

Tell yourself something positive.

“I’ve been in a tough place before and I have gotten myself out of it. I can do it again.” “I bet I can get back on track, if I slow down and really savor what I am eating.” “I know I can do this, and I will feel better about myself for cutting back.” “I am good at many things, one mistake does not a failure make.” “I love you, and I know you can do it!”

And, breathe. Keep the deep breathing going, as it not only relaxes you, it breaks the negative spiral your brain may lead you back to at this point. “Oh, why do I even try. I always overeat.” “I can’t lose weight, why do I even bother?” “My family just metabolizes food differently, other people eat more than me, and they are skinny; it’s not fair. . .” You’re right, it’s not fair, and I’m sorry you can’t just keep eating everything you want. It’s hard to pass up all that food, especially during the holidays, but you can do it.

Picture yourself at your ideal weight.

Create the vision you want to see of yourself. Picture yourself in your skinny jeans. Imagine how good it feels to zip them up with no trouble. Or envision yourself wearing that dress you love, how it glides over your hips or how good it feels to not have to add a jacket or shawl to cover your jiggling bits. The more detailed and real the picture is in your mind, the more likely you are to achieve it. 

The key is to create the image that works for you. You will know what works for you when it feels real and makes you feel good at the same time. (We spend so much time predicting disasters in our lives or rehashing our mistakes – perceived or real, why not tip the scales in your favor and begin predicting positive outcomes or pictures?)

Mentally give the you in your vision a hug!

This may sound silly, but do it, because that is the you that you genuinely want to embrace. The you, you know you want to be. You can physically hug the real you, as well, which will release the “love hormone” oxytocin. (A 20-second hug, even if it is self-administered, can lower stress. Simply wrap your arms around yourself and gently rub your arms. Give it a try, I just did and could not help smiling- an added bonus!)

Now, figure out what you can do today to get back on track. 

Throw out the leftovers. I hate wasting food, most of us do, but yesterday I chose my health and happiness over my aversion to wasting and tossed lots of leftovers. I also made a mental note to cook, bake and buy less food in the weeks ahead. (Picture the you, you want to be each time you head into the grocery store, it will help you resist temptation!)

Find your walking or running shoes, put them on and head out the door. Walk, or run up and down the stairs a few times. Stretch. Hold your arms out to your sides and make small circles, 20 times forward and then 20 times backwards. Crank up some holiday tunes and dance. Get your kids, grand kids or significant to join the fun. Do whatever you have to do to feel energized and good about yourself. 

Remember to take a moment to breathe deeply and often throughout the day – it takes practice, but is worth the effort. And, bring the mental picture of the you you want to be wherever you go. Every time temptation strikes – and it will – envision that you. When you wake up and before you go to sleep – breathe deeply and slowly and picture that you. Make your vision a part of your life, and it will be!

You are no longer alone, and you have a plan.

box-2953722__340Breathing deeply and picturing the new you are the perfect holiday gift to give yourself. After all, ’tis the season for believing, why not start believing in yourself? 

You can do it! 

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Weigh things in your favor

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“When we talk about balance, so often it’s our tendency to focus on the things that are OUT of balance. Today, let’s celebrate the things that we’ve got really right. ”  Chopra Center Meditation

86,400

86,400 – The number of seconds you have each day.

How will you spend yours?

I hope you choose to spend them with those you love, or at least letting the ones you love, know that you love them.

I hope you spend them doing what you really love or by taking risks in the direction of who you really want to be, no matter how scary that feels.

I hope you spend them working to change any injustices you see, and don’t worry if there seem to be too many on any given day, simply act and know your time was well spent.

I hope you spend them making something more beautiful or peaceful, or by simply being more aware of the beauty and peace around and inside of you.

If you do any of the above, your time will be well spent, and you will have given the world the gift of you having lived your 86,400 seconds well, which is truly a gift to behold.

 

Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

 

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