Challenging the 3 Stages of the Holiday

There seems to be three stages to everything. Typically something along the lines of a beginning, middle and end. The holidays are no exception. There is the ramp up preparing all the little details. Then during, rushing around to make sure you enjoy it and things go as planned. And lastly, the cleanup and returning to the daily grind… with, of course, your New Year’s resolution in tow.

I once heard someone say, “I had such a great time, but I would have had a better time if I eliminated all the pre-event stress and worry!”

So let’s start there. Ramping up for the holidays. All the preparations. Scheduling who does what, who cooks what, who gets what gifts, etc. Oh and don’t forget about greeting cards, holiday lights, baking, cooking, pictures with Santa, school parties, work parties, neighbors’ parties and more. For some the most stressful part of the holiday isn’t actually the day, it’s the stress leading up to the day. There seem to be so many little details to organize and more times than not, Moms do it all.

But what about the actual holiday itself? Whichever holiday you celebrate, the kids are up early. Really early. Maybe you start with breakfast. Maybe your family starts with gifts. Maybe it starts with racing around to get dressed in your best to hit the road to visit family near and far. And, don’t forget the gifts, food, treats, cards, smiles and the kids are all packed! If you’re one of the lucky ones you can sit back and enjoy the day. But most of us seem to get caught up on what should be happening rather than enjoying what really is happening.

Let’s not forget about the post holidays. Phew! Take a breath, you survived. For the most part everything was accomplished and you feel pretty okay about it all. Now is the time when you reflect on the holidays and think perhaps what should be different next year. Maybe stuck on what didn’t go right this year. What you could have done better if you were more prepared. So after all the clean-up you’re thinking about a resolution. A resolution that is probably going to invite more happiness, health and/or wealth in some way into your New Year. You set goals and you’re ready for a fresh start, oblivious to the fact that come February 1, you’ll be back to the daily grind and find that resolution not too important anymore.

The common theme here is rush. Stress. Busyness. I’m not a Grinch. I promise. I’m not even a Debbie-Downer. I’m an advocate for a more peaceful, serene holiday season. More frequently than not it seems like, especially during the holidays, we’re too stressed to look outside ourselves and our little plans. We’re good intended. We really are. We want the best for our family and friends. But what about ourselves and our own sanity? What about the other people in the community and world we live in, outside our family and friends. Wouldn’t we all benefit a bit more from a peaceful, serene holiday?

Well if you can relate to any of the 3 stages of the holidays as described above, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, you’re normal. But as I frequently say, normal doesn’t mean necessary. I like to challenge the normal. So I’m challenging you to challenge the normal this holiday season, too. So as you go through the stages of the holidays, I invite you to think a little different this year with these tips:

Challenge the pre-holiday stage:

Set your intentions for the holiday. Not what you’d like to get done, what you’d like to feel throughout the season. Remind yourself of this intention often.

Challenge the midst-holiday stage:

Check in and see how you’re doing with honoring your intentions. Remind yourself to be present where your feet are. Give up worrying about doing and having things just right. Embrace the idea of love. For your family, your friends, strangers AND yourself!!

Challenge the post-holiday stage:

Whether your intentions were fulfilled or needed some work, congratulate yourself on progress, not perfection. Reflect on the fun memories that you’ll cherish forever and forget the small hiccups when things didn’t go quite as planned. And as for your resolution, transform it into an intention with room for flexibility. Get an accountability buddy who maybe has a similar intention where you can check in with each other or even hire a coach to ensure your set up for success for the New Year.

Have an idea for your pre-holiday intention?? We’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments section below this post!

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Life Coach for Moms, Katie O'Brien, helps women create a healthier, happier balance in life with their new baby. No matter how old their babies are, through coaching she help moms thrive and shine all throughout their mommyhood journey. Download her Free Top Tips for Bliss at kaocoaching.com!