Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.
Are you feeling a bit out of balance? We all feel this way at times, but the holidays seem to throw us off even more than usual. There’s so much to do and we feel pulled in so many different directions.
Besides normal work and household responsibilities, there’s decorating, gift-buying, wrapping, baking, cooking, entertaining, school programs, and parties to prepare for. And underneath it all may be a nagging feeling that it’s up to us to create the most magical, absolutely perfect holiday experience for our loved ones.
How can we get it all done? The answer is we can’t–that is, if we want to hold on to our sanity and health.
Did you notice that the list above doesn’t include nourishing your body, exercising, relaxing, praying, creating, or having fun? It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season and forget about the other areas of our lives. As a result, we often end up feeling spent, overweight, and a little bit depressed come January 1.
The secret to getting out of this trap is letting go of the tendency to over-do in certain areas of our lives and, instead, focus on the areas we’re neglecting. This creates more balance and harmony in life. (And less frazzle!)
We all have needs that must be fulfilled, and the more attention we give to balancing these needs, the smoother our lives will go. If one area of our lives is lacking, and another is over-emphasized, then we’ll start to feel out of balance.
Maslow called this the hierarchy of needs. I like to think of it as four legs of a table. Each leg represents an essential part of our lives: Physical Health, Relationship Health, Financial Health, and Spiritual Health. If each leg is equally strong, the table (our life) is balanced. If even one leg is weak, the table wobbles.
When you start to feel stressed (or wobbly) try to step back and take a big-picture look at your life. In which area are you focusing the majority of your time and energy? At this time of year, you may find that you spend most of your time nurturing your relationships. That’s great. But are you letting your physical, spiritual, and financial health flounder as a result?
If you continue emphasizing one area of your life over the others, your metaphorical table will tip. By the time that happens, it takes a lot of work to get things back in balance.
So how do you create a more balanced life? The first step is to give yourself permission to let some things go.
This means learning to say no to the things that are taking up too much of your time and energy. There’s nothing wrong with graciously declining requests or invitations. Think of it as a form of self-preservation and self-care.
Letting Go of Holiday Perfection
After letting go of the things that aren’t serving you, try incorporating a few of the following suggestions into the areas of your life that need some attention.
- Sunshine – get outside each day to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air
- Water – drink 8 to 12 glasses of filtered water each day
- Nutrition – add more healthy fats, whole foods, and plant-based foods to your diet
- Breathing – set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to take a deep breathing break every hour
- Exercise – spend 30 minutes each day moving your body – do something you enjoy. (Try dancing to peppy Christmas music!)
- Stretching — depending on what you need, stretching can invigorate or relax you
- Laugh a lot every day — it’s a great stress-reliever!
- Sleep – try to be in bed by 10 p.m. (turn off your electronics by 9 p.m.) and get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night
- Forgive — holding a grudge harms only you. Let it go.
- Say thank you — gratitude is the key to beautiful relationships
- Apologize — even if it’s not your fault
- Listen — look at others when they’re speaking, and don’t interrupt them
- Intimacy – set aside time to spend with your significant other
- Connect with friends — but only friends who support you and lift you up
- Spending — set a budget and stick to it. Don’t get caught up in the holiday frenzy. Think about how you want to feel when the bills arrive in January.
- Work/Career — this is a great time of year to foster relationships with clients and colleagues, network at parties, and focus on career goals for the new year
- Purpose/fulfillment — we all want to feel that our lives have meaning and purpose. Spend some time each day thinking about what fulfills you and how you can incorporate that into your life and career
- Self-esteem/confidence — try to learn something new every day. Make sure to pause and revel in your successes and enjoy each milestone you achieve along the way
- Prayer/Meditation — set aside time each day for prayer and/or meditation and you’ll find that everything you do is imbued with a sense of ease and joy
- Journaling — getting your thoughts down on paper helps you work through problems and access your intuition
- Giving — whatever you give, make sure it comes from the heart and not from a sense of obligation
- Gratitude — give thanks for everything, even seemingly negative things
- Joy/Fun — set aside time each day to do something that makes you happy. Put it on your calendar, if necessary!
- Creativity — get completely absorbed in creating something new
- Love – radiate love wherever you go. Love supports every leg of our imaginary table.
With your new, balanced perspective, you’ll sail through the holidays with ease and begin the new year feeling invigorated and ready for whatever life has to offer!