Tis’ the happiest time of the year right? Well if you have been anywhere near the mall the past few weeks, you might beg to differ with me. What about when your Christmas dinner celebration doesn’t go exactly as planned? Happiest time of the year? Didn’t get that gift you wanted? Didn’t get the reaction you wanted giving your gifts? Sometimes it’s so easy to get distracted from that “happiest time of the year”.
So I ask you, do you ever set your intentions for the holiday season? How about for your day? In yoga we are often asked to stop and take a minute to set our intention for the practice. Some days it might be to be kind to yourself and listen to your body. Other days it may be to challenge yourself because you know that’s what you need. No one else can set your intentions for you.
Once your intentions have been set, it’s easier for you to focus on that goal. When you set your intention to challenge yourself in yoga, it’s easier to push through the shaky legs. You grin and bear it when your instructor has you in chair pose for 2 minutes. If you set your intention to be kind to yourself, you have no problem coming out of chair and giving yourself a break, because your yoga practice is exactly that. Yours.
Applying that to life, setting your intentions for the holidays before they get crazy will certainly make it easier to smile and stay festive even when the ham burns or the stuffing doesn’t come out just right. Didn’t get what you want? Well hopefully that wasn’t your intention, hopefully your intentions revolve around enjoying time with family and friends and remembering that the season is about cheer and merriment. For many, this is the only time you see some relatives and being on edge the entire time will ruin that experience.
People often go into family gatherings with a negative attitude, worrying about if you got the right presents, is someone going to show up with a gift and you didn’t get them one, etc. Guess what, giving and receiving gifts is not a two way street. Someone gives you a gift because they thought of you and thought it would make you happy. They did not give you a gift to get something in return from you (except maybe a thank you and a hug). Stop ruining genuine acts of kindness by over thinking things.
So I ask you again, have you set your intentions for the holidays? What are you going to do to continue to focus on those intentions when things get stressful? Remember, the holidays are about happiness and cheer. Spend time with your family, smile more, laugh out loud. Make memories. Have wine, eat cheese, make cookies. Do all the things that create lasting impressions because when it is all said and done, you will be able to cherish those memories. I doubt you will remember the gifts or the mall chaos though.