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5 Ways To Avoid A Disappointing Holiday Season

5 Ways To Avoid A Disappointing Holiday Season

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.

– Bob Hope

The holiday season is only a few weeks away and you’re probably already brimming with anticipation. This year it is going to be great!

You have been making plans for months and everything is almost ready. You can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when they catch a glimpse of how you’ve decorated the house (inside and out), the new table ornaments you’ve bought, the mouth watering menu you’ve cooked up, and the perfect gifts you’ve gotten for everyone.

You tingle with excitement because you have thought of everything.

When Christmas Day comes it all races by in a rush and before you know it you’re sitting there with a cup of eggnog looking the tree and wondering where the magic went.

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Is this all it’s about? The elaborate decorations, the food, the gifts – what about the magic that is advertised everywhere?

Why do you feel let down when the holiday season is all over?

Perhaps it’s time add something new or different to your plans.  Below are five options for creating a new and meaningful holiday experience.

1. Assess Your Traditions

Putting up the tree and decorating the house is always done on December 15. Why? It’s tradition. That is the way it was done when I was growing up. I followed the same pattern for a while, then asked my mom, “Why December 15?” She replied, “That was when we got our mid-month pay. I had some extra money then.”

Do you have things related to the holiday season that are considered a tradition? Do you get snippy or irritated when members of your family question the tradition?

Do you know why the tradition began and why you’re continuing it? Perhaps you’re creating unnecessary stress over a tradition that has long lost it’s meaning or it never really had any value.

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Change it up: As a family, create new traditions that represent your family values and current situation. You might be surprised at what people want when you open up the discussion.

2. Let Memories Stay in The Past

You close your eyes and you are a child again reliving the excitement and magic surrounding Christmas. The bright lights, the expectation of Santa, fantasizing about what you will get and the smells of the holiday goodies coming from the kitchen.

Are you trying to recapture a particular feeling or experience from your childhood?

This rarely works. You are attempting to recreate an emotion and a mood that cannot be reproduced. You are not the same as you were then nor is the situation the same.

Change it up: Create an experience that is meaningful and has value for everyone right now. A new memory that your family and friends will cherish long after the season is gone.

3. 
Let Go Of Others’ Expectations

You are surrounded by family, friends, society and rampant commercialism and each one of these comes with a different expectation for the holiday season.

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They expect you to have a tree with decorations, buy everyone a perfect gift, have a fabulous meal and be happy and joyous!

Many people love all of this, but there are others who feel trapped by all the expectations. If you love it, great! If you don’t, why do you do it?

Change it up: What would be your ideal Christmas? Perhaps minimal decorations, no gifts, a simple meal and a day spent with loved ones. What would it feel like if you did what made you happy rather than feeling bullied by the expectations of others? Try it out and see!

4. Stop Aiming For Perfection

Around the holiday season, you often here people saying, “I want this Christmas to be perfect!”

When I hear this, I want to ask, “Perfect for whom?” Everyone’s idea of perfect is different.

For me, a perfect Christmas would be snuggled up with my beloved in front of a blazing fireplace sipping mulled wine. For another, it would be being surrounded by the boisterous laughter and gaiety of family. Someone else might consider sitting on a beach to be the perfect antidote to the wintry Christmas season we always see on TV.

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Creating perfection is a difficult task, for it can only be seen from your perspective. If you are trying create a perfect holiday for someone else, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Change it up: Expand your perception of a perfect day. You might rephrase your wishes to, “I want this holiday to be a reflection my love and joy for my family.”

5. Be Fully Present In The Experience

You have spent weeks in preparation for the big day only to feel tried and disappointed when it’s all over. At the end of the day, have you ever thought, “Next year, I’m not doing this”?

Change it up: On Christmas Day, slow down and fully experience each moment. Clear your mind of thought or judgement allow yourself to be immersed in the richness of your senses.

Breathe deeply and let your senses guide you. Listen to the laughter and giggles of the children or to the soft music in the background. Hear the real joy being expressed by a special gift. Smell the rich scents wafting in from the kitchen or perhaps the pine boughs on the mantle. Let you eyes rest on the colorful lights reflecting off the snow or each beautiful face in the room. As you eat, savor each bite of food and pay attention to the different flavors. Shift down to your heart and feel the love and joy in the moment.

At this level of experience you are receiving your deepest and most long-lasting gifts!

May this holiday season be rich with unique experiences and memories that fill you with joy!

Featured photo credit: Close up of Christmas market stall in Basel, Switzerland via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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