Taking Back the Holidays: Reimagine the Season

You want this year to be different. And it can be! You’re invited to join us in this year’s challenge to take back the holidays—and give yourself a more centered season. Every week, we bring you a new challenge that will help you boost your resilience, calm your thoughts, and inspire your efforts to be the best you during the busiest time of year.

This week: A three-step plan to reimagine the season by approaching it with a new attitude. Consider this your official invite to a happier, healthier holiday.

It’s no wonder stress skyrockets around the holidays. Our expectations are ridiculously high. Presents should be perfect. The ham should be tasty. Everyone should get along. Often, you aren’t even aware that you’re putting so much pressure on the season (and yourself). You’re just losing your cool. This year, try this three-step plan for getting your stressful expectations out in the open. You’ll be able to experience the season in a more peaceful, happier way.

1. Understand what’s driving your stress. At meQuilibrium, we call deep-rooted, age-old ideas about how the world should work iceberg beliefs. They’re called iceberg beliefs because only the tip is visible to your conscious mind. The rest lumbers under water, far beneath our awareness. These are three common holiday icebergs:

  • My family should get along during the holidays.
  • I must make this the perfect holiday.
  • I should give—and get—the perfect gifts.

Any of those sound familiar to you? Knowing what’s truly upsetting you is the first step to changing it.

2. Find your iceberg beliefs. If you’re not sure what your holiday iceberg beliefs are, use negative thoughts and feelings to find out. For example, if you typically find yourself feeling grouchy and resentful while you bake yet more brownies for another school holiday bake sale, pause for a second. What are you thinking? “I don’t have time to do this. I hate this. No one ever helps me. All the work during the holidays falls on me.”

Bingo! You’ve touched on your iceberg belief: No one ever helps me. I have to do everything alone.

(Read more on the use of painful thoughts and emotions.)

3. Give yourself another choice. Once you’ve located your iceberg, replace it. You’re not ignoring your negative feelings. And you’re not trying to pretend your problems don’t exist. Instead, you’re giving yourself a break from the stress and negativity.

Instead of thinking, “I hate this, no one ever helps me,” think of one thing that you actually love about making a bake sale treat. Or love about office Secret Santa gifts. Or love about visiting family. This shift to the positive will boost your energy and allow you to do your holidays differently. That could mean buying brownies rather than baking, or simply asking for help.

Deal with your iceberg beliefs from the get-go, give yourself the option of a new attitude, and you have a much better chance of ringing in the holidays with joy.