What’s Your “Holiday Story?”

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Articles | 0 comments

For some, it may be about connecting with friends and family, eating hearty meals and treats, singing songs, or getting in touch with one’s spirituality. For others, it may be laced with groans and moans, trepidation, loneliness, frustration, angst, and bouts of depression and anxiety. Often both “stories” can somehow co-exist.

I used to spend quite a bit of time worrying about the holiday season and what it would hold. With increased obligations, people really are in demand this time of year! With so much more on our plate (literally and figuratively) it’s easy to feel overloaded and disconnected from what the holiday season is supposed to mean. Combine that with mandatory or obligatory time spent with relatives or coworkers that may not normally spend time together, and it can be a recipe for STRESS. All of a sudden our holiday stories are about shopping, traveling, running from place to place, and making small talk. They are frenzied and lack depth and feeling. I call this type of story a "thin story" (lacking depth). When life gets taken over with thin stories, we can start to retreat inside ourselves, which only feels worse. It can become a very vicious cycle.

You can re-write or even pre-write your holiday story as an antidote to a woefully thin holiday story that tries so hard to keep you on edge. The story you create needs DEPTH so that it has better staying power than the old story. The way to create depth is to get in touch with what you give value to in life. Here’s a step by step example of pre-writing (or re-writing, if it has already gotten rough) a holiday story:

On a sheet of paper, write down the following:

Step One: Describe the thin story.
Ex. Rushing around, complaining about not having time, dreading family get-togethers.

Step Two: Identify what living out the thin story does to you.
Ex. It makes me not want to do anything. I don’t enjoy any of the holiday season, and if I go to my family with a bad attitude I know that it will surely turn out badly.

Step Three: Answer the question, "Why does this bother me?"
Ex. It bothers me because I really want to connect with people and the spirit of the holidays. I remember how wonderful the holidays felt when I was a child and I want to have my own children feel that too. I eat too much and then I feel bad about myself and my body.

Step Four: Looking at your answers to step 3, write down 3 words or phrases that describe what really matters to you.
Ex. Connection with others
Being a good mother
Taking care of myself and my body

NOW – in four steps you have created the beginning of a holiday story that at its core contains what matters most to you. Hold onto it in all that you do this season. If the thin story starts to take over, give yourself 3 seconds to remember the three phrases you came up with in step 4. Wear these phrases like armor – there to protect you from anything that wants to take you farther away from who you are and what matters most to you. Even if you can’t do everything in the holiday season that you might want, remember that you can still be you and stay true to what you hold most dear. And THAT feels good, even amidst the chaos of the season!