It’s so easy to stress yourself by trying to do too much at the holidays. I wrote last week about the unrealistic expectations the culture places on us. However, sometimes we are the source of our own stress. Last week I asked a client what she could tell herself that would relieve stress. She wisely said, “Let go of the fluff stuff.”
She’s absolutely right. There are holiday preparation essentials and then there’s the “It’s nice if we could have/do that.”
Can you relieve some pressure by releasing some ‘fluff stuff’?
There’s also a movement in psychology to move away from using self-esteem as a measure of psychological health, and to move towards self-compassion.
Some people fear if they show themselves the kindness they show others that they’ll go ‘soft’, and become unreliable or unmotivated. Research shows the opposite. People who are kind to themselves when they fail or notice something they don’t like about themselves are MORE motivated to change behavior for the better.
If we make it safe for ourselves to admit our own flaws, the easier it is to change them. Self-compassion also involves seeing things clearly without ignoring/exaggerating problems.
People who are kind to themselves are less depressed and anxious. They’re also better at remaining motivated to exercise, to give up smoking and to stick to their diets. (But please choose realistic and compassionate goals for yourself during the holiday season if they involve exercising, giving up smoking, and dieting!)
My two pieces of advice to you this holiday season are to let go of some ‘fluff stuff’ and to show yourself some kindness. Let me know how it goes, ok? ‘Tis the season!
And may you all enjoy the holidays with passion and peace!