How do you feel when you look at the calendar and see that the holidays are right around the corner All of the excitement, all of the expectations, the swirl, the pressure.
Do you feel the burden of creating the perfect holiday experience each year? Does the stress of traditions, expectations, and financial pressures overshadow the joy and love that the holiday season brings? Today, we’re talking about why we feel so much stress during the holidays and how we can approach them in a different way that feels so much better.
Join me as we consider how to shift our mindset from the ‘all or nothing’ mentality to a more balanced, content, and joyful holiday focus. We’ll talk about setting boundaries, prioritizing experiences over tasks, and finding ways to stay connected and compassionate even in stressful times. From managing expectations to focusing on what truly serves us, we aim to help you design a holiday season that is meaningful, fulfilling, and so much less stressful!
What you will learn on this episode:
– Understanding why holidays can often be stressful and overwhelming due to expectations and traditions.
– The importance of shifting your mindset from an ‘all or nothing’ mentality to a balanced approach during holidays.
– The role of values in determining your holiday plans and experiences.
– How to set boundaries, prioritize experiences over tasks, and stay connected and compassionate during stressful times.
– Ways to manage expectations and focus on what truly serves you during the holiday season.
– The significance of having an after-holiday recovery plan.
– The realization that while you can plan for a joyful holiday season, you cannot control the feelings and reactions of others.
I absolutely love to hear your thoughts and get your questions.
You can email me at: Leighagermann@gmail.com
I can’t wait to hear from you!
This podcast is not intended to provide mental health treatment. Leigh Germann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and not a doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. She does not provide diagnosis nor offer therapy through the LeighGermann.com website or in the information offered on the website. It is important that you do not disregard professional medical or mental health advice or delay seeking professional medical or mental health treatment because of any information on the LeighGermann.com website including but not limited to blogs, newsletter, videos, podcasts, e-books, programs, webinars, courses and other services. Leigh Germann and offerings on LeighGermann.com are not providing legal or financial advice, business advice, psychotherapy, supervision, religious advice, or medical advice. The information contained on this Website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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Hey guys, we are back with another episode. We are on episode number 34, and I love when the time rolls around to visit with you again. It just makes me so happy.
It’s a beautiful fall day in November and I kind of got excited today thinking about the holidays being right around the corner. It could be such a fun time, so full of traditions and gatherings and celebrations. But you know, something else kind of creeps in with the excitement about the holidays and I’ve already started noticing it showing up in my meetings with women this past week A little bit of excitement and then a great big sigh. Like I can see the weight of the holidays just settle on a woman’s shoulders as she starts to talk about her plans, all the things she has to do, all the expectations. I was getting ready this morning thinking about this and then my mind went to my own big crew, the people coming for the holidays, the rooms to get ready, the meals to prepare, the gifts to buy, and I felt it. I felt that weight start to fall on my shoulders, like it literally went from something I was looking forward to to something that felt a little bit like I was preparing for a marathon with a lot of pressure. I don’t know if that ever happens to you.
My experience is that moms especially, we get this feeling, the excitement, for sure, but also this pressure, that heavy expectation, and I think that’s why I see those shoulders slump when women are talking about the holidays, why it can feel heavy For a lot of us. We are the magic makers. It falls on us to create this amazing experience that we’ve painted in our mind and in our expectations, and it can be pretty consuming. You know we just had an episode about setting and keeping traditions in order to keep our families close. Okay, right there, that’s one of the reasons why we feel the pressure. Keeping our kids close, creating that family culture, doing things that match our values, making memories, making sure everyone feels loved that’s what’s going on in my mind when I think about the holidays. No wonder it can feel overwhelming sometimes.
One of the things that makes holidays hard for us is that feeling that we are responsible to make those things happen and to make that picture in our minds come to life. And for me, that picture has a lot of smiling, happy people getting along, making memories, being delighted. As moms, I think our radar is on a lot right. These are special times. We want them to go well and a lot of times we feel responsible to make that happen, to make our family feel happy.
And then there’s the financial piece of that, the stress that can come with creating that perfect holiday, and it’s really capitalized upon in advertising pictures of happy families receiving the best gift they could ever imagine, nailed it with a new car with a huge red ribbon on the windshield. I remember seeing that last year right around the holiday times like it was some kind of car commercial where a husband gives his wife a brand new sports car for Christmas and I looked at my husband and I said, wow, should I have put a car on my wish list this year? Now I’m not hating on the idea of someone getting a car as a gift. I just think it’s helpful to notice the subtle and sometimes not so subtle messages we receive in advertising about how we’re supposed to give and how we’re supposed to feel and what to do to have that great holiday. So financial pressure can be a part of holiday stress.
Holidays can also bring out the worst in our relationships. Research shows a spike in marital conflict during the holidays and we’ve known for a long time that when stressed, most people lose some of their normal abilities to be patient, to be empathic, to be compassionate. We give others less benefit of the doubt and are quicker to react negatively, especially to our spouses. Add to that any disagreements over finances or traditions and how we’re going to handle our over scheduled calendars and the pressure increases and a lot of times, because of the busyness of the holidays, as couples we fall out of our normal routines that normally protect us and help us feel connected. And typically the holidays have also been known to be a little bit hard on families that are going through transitions or for people that don’t have a big family network. So holidays can also bring up a lot of loneliness and a lot of feelings of not belonging. So these are some of the challenges that research has documented that show up around the holidays.
Well, recently I did my own little poll. I polled my clients, some of my friends and my family about how they feel about the holidays and I found two general themes in the responses. The first was I love the holidays, the nostalgia, the memories, the gathering, the surprises, the love, the magic. The second theme was I’m stressed in capital letters I feel there’s so much to do. My in-laws are coming, we have to travel, each child has a bunch of parties, service projects, presents, we have overfilled schedules. They point to their lists, the calendar, the timeline too much to do. Most of the people I polled had a mix of these two themes and they bounced back and forth between the two, ultimately telling me that, even though they were often stressed. They still really valued and were committed to putting on a good holiday season, and everyone agreed that the holidays were high on their priority list and with it the expectation that stress was part of the package, because inherently they cared about how things were done, keeping the traditions and making the memories.
And it made me think about the concept of stress. You know, stress isn’t all bad. In fact, we have really good research and studies showing that short-term stress is linked to things that are important to us, and this kind of stress inspires and motivates us to focus our energy on things we care about. Researchers call this good stress because it serves a purpose and enhances our performance on our goals. Bad stress is the kind of stress that leaves you worn out, anxious and triggers that fight or flight response in our bodies that can literally cause us health challenges or anxiety or confusion and decrease our performance, and I think this is a really cool concept to think about when it comes to preparing for anything that we really care about.
I think about the stress we feel when we’re preparing for a performance, whether that be a sport or music or work presentation. It requires energy, focus and organization to prepare. It requires sharing our time and often letting one thing drop lower on a list in order to prioritize the thing we’re preparing for If we care enough about it, it may actually cause us some stress, simply because we care and it needs our attention. So I think the key here is opening to the idea that it’s okay to care, it’s okay to plan, it’s okay to want things to go well. We just need to be mindful of where we are on that stress continuum, because there’s a light side of stress that’s helpful and a dark side of stress that is not. And I don’t know about you, but I can start to sense the difference when my stress goes to the dark side. I mentioned this because I’ve found that even though the holidays or other big important events to us like birthdays or weddings, anything we care about when that starts to cause us problems meaning we’re getting the dark side of stress happening it can be tempting to go to all or nothing and say I can’t, I’m done, I won’t do it this year, and then try as we might. That doesn’t really bring the relief we thought it would, because deep inside we care about it too much. So in reality we’re probably not really gonna let it all go, and if we could, we’d probably be really disappointed.
I think about that really funny Christmas movie. It’s called Christmas with the Cranks. It’s based upon a John Grisham book called Skipping Christmas and it’s about an older couple that don’t have any children at home and they’re kind of deciding that they’re gonna let go of all of the things they do for the holidays and go take a trip instead. And then, of course, at the last minute, their child comes home and they have to pull out all stops to get everyone to come together and help them put on their Christmas traditions. I guess the point I’m making is that even when we get overwhelmed and we think I can’t do this anymore and we look at letting it go, there are things about that that we miss, things about the holidays that are great to have off of our plate but also we long for. We really want to experience some of that holiday magic, and I think that’s where we get stuck and trapped. I care about this stuff. It’s killing me with stress, but it would be worse if I didn’t do it. So there you go, I’m trapped, and so we put our heads down, sometimes with gritted teeth, and try to keep up the pace and before we realize it, we’re back on that treadmill trying to make sure everyone is happy, and that usually leads to feeling like we’re not doing enough, which leads to trying harder, and then we’re exhausted but we can’t take breaks or pace ourselves and there’s a perfect storm for us missing the whole goal in the first place of enjoying the holidays. We kind of get robbed of that joy. Well, I think it’s time for us to get unstuck, to get out of that trap and maybe look at facing the holidays from someplace more in the middle of that all or nothing stress continuum.
Over the years, I found some helpful ways to approach the holidays, to do this, and I thought it might be good to share those with you all now in the weeks ramping up to the holidays, so you can be thinking of how this year it could possibly feel just a little bit different than a year’s past, maybe just a little lighter, and hopefully make it easier to feel some contentment and joy this holiday season. Okay, let’s start with a few steps that kind of opens the door to doing the holidays in a different way. Number one I want you to imagine approaching the holidays and seeing a big whiteboard, maybe hung up on a wall in your home somewhere, with all the things that the holidays bring. Written up there on the board there’s the calendar packed with activities, the traditions you have, all the ones you’ve had in the past, maybe in your childhood homes, and the ones you’ve done in your own home with your kids, and all the ones that you hear about that you think, oh, I wanna implement that in my family too and think of the feelings you want everyone to feel. You’re gonna have a list of all the feelings and the way you want the house to look the holiday decor, the food, the gifts, the visits, the travel, everything. This is one cram packed whiteboard hung up, not a white space, probably left full of everything you can think of. Now you may actually have a whiteboard in your house.
If you do this would be a really cool exercise for you to write this down. It would have to be a big board. Another thing you can do is write all of this down on a sheet of paper. What you’re looking for is the space to dump every thought you have about the holidays, and this is great information, great data for us.
Actually, this is part of why the holidays are so stressful for us. Rarely do we see all the things that we are holding in our minds, all of the expectations, all of the hopes, all of the dreams. They’re there, they’re running through our head. We’re having little pictures that pop up, little memories that pop up. We hear songs, we see other people’s traditions, we watch movies, and it all gets loaded on the to-do list in our minds and it just exists and it often becomes our map, one that is guiding us, that sometimes we don’t even realize. So we can kind of be operating under these laws, these shoulds, these have to’s, and sometimes not even recognize how many of those we have and how strongly we feel directed by them.
I remember one year we had all the kids home and we were jam-packed, my whiteboard was full and spilling over and I was handling it, we were doing it and it was like 9 pm On Christmas Eve and I realized, oh my gosh, I didn’t make the dough for the cinnamon rolls. This is a tradition We’ve had for years. I make cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve, so they’re ready for Christmas morning and if you’ve ever made cinnamon rolls you know you need the right ingredients, you need the time for the dough to rise, not once, but twice and it takes a amount of time. I Realized I was going to be up really late waiting for these cinnamon rolls to rise. I was tired, I didn’t want to stay up past midnight to make them, but I was torn. It was tradition and I kept thinking that my kids expected it and they were actually telling me it’s fine, mom, don’t worry. But you know, my son was home from college and I wanted it all to be right, so I stayed up.
I actually kind of hurried the rolls, which in turn really ruined them when I baked them on Christmas morning. They just hadn’t really risen correctly and they were a big dud. I Was so caught in the stress trap that it dampened my Christmas joy and my kids ate them anyway, making me feel better. And I could really see that the cinnamon rolls had nothing to do with the joy of us being together or the joy of the morning. It would have been much better for me to not have made them and just gone to bed to let it go graciously, with peace and Focus on the bigger picture. And it was a great teaching moment for me.
I remember thinking, wow, I have some really rigid ideas of what has to happen here what I think has to happen in order for this to be a success. And if I’ve learned one thing about life, about our mental wellness, it’s that rigidity causes all kinds of problems for us, and flexibility is almost always the better way. So I learned to be flexible. That Christmas morning I had a choice to let go of the perfectionism haunting me and get a little more flexible so I could feel the joy of what I wanted to feel, and that joy really has nothing to do with cinnamon rolls or with gifts or with anything. Flexibility allows for so much more joy. So I want you to think about what dampens your holiday joy.
Think about your whiteboard and just notice if it might be a little too packed. Are there things on there you feel kind of rigid about? We get so connected to this board in our minds. Which things would you let go of? That’s hard right. The board holds a lot of important things that we care about. So check in and see what your stress level is as you’re thinking about this. You’re going to use this as a guide in the future. So this check-in is important. Take a snapshot of your board, your expectations, your shoulds, and Then I want us to go to step number two. I want you to imagine taking one of those dry erase board erasers and Just clear that whiteboard, that board that is loaded down with the full calendar, the gift list, the expectations of how it’s got A look to be successful. See yourself just erasing that board, clearing all of that, writing all of those expectations, and Standing in front of a blank slate, realizing you get a chance to start over and decide what you really want to be on that board.
Because the truth is we really don’t have to do any of it. Not the Christmas cards, not the presents, not the traditions, not the cleaning, not the cooking none of it, none of it has to be done. When I do this, I feel some resistance. I will be honest Whenever I’m asking you guys to do, I am doing myself, and I felt resistant to do this and it made it clear for me how much I get caught in my own shoulds and have to. This is the trap we fall into in our thinking and in our language and we kind of just believe it. I have to make those cinnamon rolls and the truth is I really didn’t. I chose to, that’s all, and Choice is really different than having to you, so you’re giving yourself permission to make fresh decisions.
How hard is this for you? It’s kind of been hard for me in the past to do this. I want to make others happy, so I’m kind of a recovering people pleaser. I’m still recovering here and I’m not ashamed of that. I like pleasing. I like, you know, delighting people. I have just learned that it can’t be at the expense of my own identity and my own joy. There’s a balance where you take care of others after you’ve taken care of you. So what we’re doing here is adding you back into the holiday planning and giving you permission to choose what you do and how you do it. Okay, step number three In order to know what you’re gonna put back up on your whiteboard, you need to get into what you value. You wanna use your values to help you make those choices. We are working on identifying our values and living in our values, so hopefully this will be a little easier for you.
Since we’ve been talking about it, what are the things that I really long for that I really want to happen during the holidays? Meet with your spouse. Talk through what your top hopes and dreams are for the holidays. Get an idea what his picture of it might look like. Is it to spend quality time together? Is it to increase the level of fun and delight the kids? Is it to create or honor some traditions? Is it to deepen your spiritual or your religious observance? I think it’s great to talk about these kinds of things that matter to us so that you can be prepared to put them on your list first, so that when the end of the holiday comes around, you can look back and feel good about what you set as your highest priority. And I think it’s helpful to almost assume that we’re not gonna get to everything on our list that we wanna do. So if you only get to the top five or six things after the holidays are your most important things at the top, and sometimes these things are harder to plan for. You know, society kind of carries us along the holiday path with parties or consumerism telling us what to do. So you really wanna think about the things that come from your values that maybe others don’t benefit from or maybe aren’t even part of what they think or value or believe. This is you driven and this is gonna help you be able to say no to the other things that are good but fall a little lower on the importance list for you.
Sometimes it helps to use how you wanna feel as a guide. Instead of asking your kids what do you wanna do this holiday, ask them what would you like to feel this holiday. It’s kind of a cool shift and I don’t know about you, but I have different answers to those two questions. If you ask me what I wanna do this holiday season, I wanna do all of the things on my big whiteboard. Like I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach. You know how we say that. Like ooh, I wanna eat all that stuff but I don’t have room for it all. I wanna do it all. But if you ask me how I wanna feel, hmm, a little different way of looking at it. I want to feel calm, I want to feel tender, I wanna feel connected, I wanna feel connected to my family, I wanna feel connected to God and I kind of wanna feel this peace. And if I wrote these down on paper in list form and then put them side by side, I’ll see some overlap, but they’re gonna look quite different. So when we’re starting to look at how we wanna feel and then we’re combining that with the question what which of these activities, that the things we’d like to do, might help us feel these things. We can start to narrow down and get a much better idea of what things are gonna kind of meet both of our desires. So we wanna lead with how you wanna feel and then pick things on your other list that might have the best chance of creating a situation where you might feel that feeling.
Step number four start to add in the most important things that matter to you. Consider picking maybe the top three things you want to accomplish this holiday season, and I don’t mean things like tasks, but I mean those experiences. We’re looking at the meaning you wanna be able to walk away with and you want that to be represented on this whiteboard. A couple of things, not a lot, and you’re going to put those on the top part of your whiteboard, almost like a filter or a funnel and something going onto your whiteboard. You kind of want it to pass through that filter and be a little bit of a test to see if something qualifies to be able to make it onto your busy board and if you have something come your way or something in your mind or something that seems important to you that doesn’t quite meet those criteria. Maybe they come on later with the extra amounts of time that you have once all of your big rocks are kind of in place.
First, here are three things you can think about as you do this kind of filtering. I want you to be thoughtful. That’s what we’re doing right now Deliberate, feeling empowered to make some choices, set some boundaries and then peaceful. So thoughtful, deliberate and peaceful this is my mantra this holiday season. We’re taking away the expectations and we’re giving ourselves permission to be able to do it just a little bit of a different way. Now let’s go one step deeper. Let’s do this also with the comparisons and the expectations that happen in our mind.
If your thoughts are not serving one of these higher goals that you’ve identified as what you’re going for for the holiday season, then it’s a great time to focus our attention on other thoughts. I would say just let’s just make that thought go away. But we know that that’s not going to happen. Thoughts don’t just go away on demand. As a matter of fact, when we try to make them go away, they tend to come back a little stronger. So instead, what we want to notice is that they’re just there and maybe they’re representing some of that old way of thinking that we have to do it all. Maybe it’s a new idea that’s coming to us that just won’t leave us alone and we want to pay attention to it. But if you find that your mind is spinning with thoughts and ideas that just really you don’t think they fit on your design of the holidays for this year, then it’s okay to put a little boundary around them and say thank you for the visit, but I’m not letting you stay, and just noticing this will go a long way to helping you redirect your focus to the things that you really think serve you. As you’re doing all of this, the overarching question that I want you to hold in your heart maybe not even in your mind, but in your heart is this why am I celebrating? What am I celebrating? We’re looking for that bigger picture, bigger stars to steer by than just crossing things off our list, and if what you’re doing doesn’t match your why, then we’re giving ourselves permission to let it go?
Since we’re talking about feelings, let’s look at this idea. This is part of what’s on our whiteboard right A whole list of things we want everyone else to feel, and when I think of this. I think I want my kids to feel delighted, like over the moon, surprised or pleased by their holiday, and I want the memories to be so impactful that those kids remember them in a powerful way. I want teachers and friends to feel appreciated and neighbors. I want feelings of gratitude and connection to God to be strengthened. I want them all, me included, to feel like we’ve had this life-changing experience, the best holiday ever.
Okay, maybe I don’t consciously think about these things or say them out loud, but as I talk with moms about their holiday stress, inevitably this is what’s lying beneath it Really good intentions, such a beautiful vision, but very little control over all those people feeling all those feelings. We see the potential for holidays to be something that brings us together and gives us experiences that are fun and joyful, and so we plan for everyone to have those feelings that match our biggest hopes. Think about that for a minute. Isn’t that kind of a setup, to think we can create feelings and that we can make everyone happy? That’s a lot of pressure, and I know it’s true for me because, even as I say it, I’m thinking oh no, don’t take that away from me, don’t tell me that I have to stop trying to make my kids or friends happy.
I’m kind of protective of that. I don’t want to let go of that goal of delight on Christmas morning or that feeling of closeness and gratitude we feel around the table when we gather for a holiday meal. I’m not going to ask you to give that up or let that go. In fact, I want you to feel free to focus on that more, not less. I just want you to realize that you don’t have the power to actually make it happen. I want you to feel less stressed about doing it all and much more at peace as you approach this special time in your family and allow for your family members to have their own experiences.
This might be the hardest one, because I just don’t want to have kids that are unhappy, especially at the holidays. Happy kids, happy family, happy days. But the truth is we cannot control any of that and you can’t control the stress either. You may be doing great with your stress level and then your spouse feels stressed, and then I get stressed. I kind of had this thought for a lot of years. I’m only as happy as my saddest kid and I’m as stressed as my most stressed out child or spouse. This is part of what makes the holidays feel heavy and impossible, goal we keep chasing around.
We need to just let that go, really practice letting go of our need to control others’ feelings and others’ experiences. And here’s another way to handle that desire we have to help and support our loved ones. Let’s connect with the stressed loved one by being compassionate, so we can be understanding and love them through it, rather than being responsible. So compassionate rather than responsible. This is a great example, even for our children, because they’re going to be surrounded by others in their life with feelings and that aren’t always going the way that they want them to go, and you want them to know how to hold steady in their own emotions and not soak up what is around them. You know, like instead of being a sponge that absorbs everyone’s emotions, we kind of sop it up so that it’s not spilled all over. We want to be solid and steady, compassionate, letting people have their feelings and being supportive, but not soaking them up.
Okay, number five, let’s build in some what I call balance time. It might be quiet time, it might be restorative time, protective time, downtime, and you may need a lot of that or a little, but build it in. If you’re traveling, come home one day earlier before school and work starts, or at least in the morning rather than late at night. Give yourself a little bit of a buffer to be able to manage that transition and come through it with a little bit less exhaustion. Consider keeping a couple of evenings free during the weeks, or maybe even on a weekend, to not have to be anywhere, to maybe make time for hot chocolate and a movie, or going to bed early in order to rest up for the next activity. Or maybe it’s a little bit of a flex time where you have some unstructured evenings to be able to do something at the last minute that sounds fun to you. I guess what I’m asking us to do is to plan differently. Whenever we face time crunches, stress shows up, so consider lengthening or broadening the time frame we have to prepare for our most important to-dos.
The moms I pulled shared some of their tricks. Here they are I order holiday cards in the summer so I have a longer time to address and get them out. I stay for Christmas each month so that by November I have my Christmas budget already there. It’s relieved the stress of breaking our budget. We plan the holidays with activities ahead of time, have a family meeting where everyone gets input and knows the plan. We create flex days where we have a couple of options and we can plug anything in there if something unexpected comes up. We are on the side of less. We value experiences over things. On holiday, we ask the kids what would be most meaningful to them Not the things, but the traditions or the experiences they wanted to do the most. As a mom, one year I wrote out my whole list all of my to-dos that I see as having to get done and then in a family meeting we looked at it together. We ranked what was most important and we looked to see if there was anything we could drop. Then we divided up the tasks. It helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one responsible for the whole holiday and I felt so much less resentment. It also gave each one in our family a way to feel important and impactful. I feel really good about how my kids are learning to create memories by taking part in them. I think these are some great suggestions. They may work for you, they may not, but I want you to listen to some of the flexibility that these moms have gained throughout their struggle and their kind of triumph over their holiday experience.
Number six let’s practice communicating our vision and expectations with each other. This is so important, as spouses particularly, but also with our kids. I remember my mother-in-law calling us one year and telling us they decided to handle gift giving at Christmas differently from here on out. They simply explained they’d be sending gifts to the kids under a certain age and cards or money for the adults to go to dinner. She was getting older, having trouble finding gifts that made sense and she didn’t want anyone to be disappointed or feel unloved. She was changing a tradition and it was one of the most thoughtful and helpful phone calls we’ve received. I think this can be part of that family meeting you have, where you all communicate and have input.
Number seven let’s have perspective, keeping the big picture in mind. This is one holiday, one of our times together. It’s not the only time. It’s not our only chance to make memories or bring our family together. You can always have a special dinner in January or February or July for no reason, or maybe for the next holiday. This can help with that feeling of scarcity or FOMO that can add pressure to our holidays. I just don’t think it’s ever too late to implement something that we care about, and if we miss it this holiday season, we can do it next time around.
I also think it’s important to pay attention to our after holiday recovery. I can remember my mom having after Christmas blues that’s what she called it where she was exhausted. All that planning and spending and work was over in what felt like a couple of hours and she told me she always felt a little bit depressed. I didn’t understand it until I was a mom and I saw the weeks of careful work that seemed like they were over in a blink, and I felt a little bit of that after Christmas blues and my mom taught me to leave something to look forward to at the end of the finish line. Leave something to help you feel rested or restored. For her it was watching a movie together on Christmas night and that was kind of our tradition. She and I would do that. It could be a family walk, a nap, a fun and easy dinner instead of a complex traditional one.
Think about what would make your recovery time after all this work feel like something you could look forward to, something that would make the holidays feel successful for both your family and for you, and consider maybe debriefing when the holidays are over. Look back and make some adjustments to your whiteboard, because we’re learning as we go and the beautiful thing about being human is that we get to choose how we do it next time. Okay, I hope you could imagine this exercise Once again. You don’t have to imagine it Literally. You can take out a piece of paper and do this. Do this with your partner, do this with your family, do this with your kids. It’s such a great exercise. You still have time to do this for this year, for this year’s holiday season.
Check in with yourself and take a look at your stress level. Is it the good stress that motivates you to prepare for things that matter to you, or is it that dark stress that feels heavy and steals the joy out of your holidays? Remember, you have a choice to rethink things, to redesign your experience and to expand the lane for joy Freedom to say yes to what matters and the freedom to say no to what doesn’t. You might make tiny changes at first. Just choose to do one thing instead of two things one week. Maybe you decide to let go of the cinnamon rolls this year, or maybe keep those, but ask the family to help so you aren’t the one up late at night doing it alone. Check on your flexibility and your rigidity meteor. See where you need to shake off those shoulds and when you want to honor them because they’re really more of what you want to do. It might take a season or two for you and others to get used to the changes you’re making, but it will be such a good investment because you’re going to feel lighter, you’re going to be more focused on the important things and you, ultimately, are going to be a much happier mama during the holidays.
I love you guys. I hope you feel that from me that I’m on your team and I’m wishing for you so much joy this holiday season. Talk to you next week, take care. Thanks so much for listening. You can always find me on Instagram, at LeighGermann, or on my website at LeighGermann.com. Thanks again and I’ll see you next time. The Leadership Parenting Podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again, and take care.