How to Make the Most of Holiday Imperfections

One Memory at a Time….

Picture: Pixaby, Webofiice. Photoshop: Kimberly Sheldahl

Like many seasons this time of year is full of nuances. Most of us spend quite a bit of money, wrap presents and cook a lot of food. In turn, we generally receive new items and make room for our new gadgets and gizmos. We spend time with family and friends and tend to eat too much. The results are both good and not so good.

It’s great to be around those we love, but inevitably we encounter stress. Stress generally enters at about the same time as our guests’ arrival. People travel to attend the festivities and make some form of sacrifice to be present. They bring that sacrifice to your party. The sacrifice might be time, money or energy, but they sacrifice something. The host also sacrifices time and energy when preparing for family and friends. I personally love to entertain but get tired. The outcome looks like “Mom,” “Wife,” “Friend”, and “Host” on the couch wishing she could take a nap.

We all need to get more done and sleep is a luxury that doesn’t get wrapped in a pretty little box. In fact, today, I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and it wasn’t planned. I woke up thinking about my 2020 goals. Does that sound familiar? How many of you are thinking about your 2020 goals? My synapses were firing around work-related goals. My thoughts would have likely bounced to a health related “get back on track” theme had I stayed in bed, but I chose to get up. My mind was already up and running so why not put hands and feet to that activity.

And so, my day began. I had to give some thought as to why I was consumed with thoughts at 0430. It’s not the norm for me. I believe I felt a sense of overwhelm. There’s so much to do in my business and you know everything happens by Dec. 31st, right? All the planning for 2020 must be done or my business will suffer. I need to prioritize so I can focus on the most important to do’s first. If you saw my to do list, you would think I made to do lists for a living.

But the fact is “my plan” doesn’t have to be done by Dec. 31st. What a relief. So, I breathed into that truth while I did early morning yoga; 50 minutes’ worth. I felt better. I drank a full 8 ounces of water and then sat in my chair making a list. I know you want to laugh right now, but this list was for groceries. I’m having another party and need to plan.

My Holiday hasn’t been perfect.

1. I’ve gotten too tired and not slept enough.

2. I’ve thought too much about work and imposed artificial timelines for tasks that will change throughout the year.

3. I’ve eaten too much and not exercised enough.

4. My husband is fighting a rather annoying dental problem and my dog isn’t doing so well.

I’ll bet your Holiday hasn’t been perfect either. What can you do to make the most of your Holiday imperfections?

1. Accept that no Holiday is perfect.

2. Re-frame perfection and focus on the things that are great in any given moment. For example, when I was exhausted on the couch on Christmas Eve, I just focused on my daughters and grandchildren’s smiles. I loved seeing the joy in their eyes when they opened the presents that I took time to buy and wrap.

3. If you wake up early, quit tossing and turning and get up. Turn on your mindfulness and make the most of the early morning. For me that meant yoga and a little self-reflection. It also gave me ample time to figure out what I was making for the next party. I even have a grocery list!

4. Stay in your P.J.s a little longer. I’ve never been into the P.J. thing, but wow, people are onto something. Maybe I needed the perfect set but wearing P.J.s a little longer during the Holidays is truly a treat.

5. Go for a walk. I’m such a wimp in the cold. I admit it. I’m a southern girl and I like the heat, but with a bit of encouragement I will wrap up and go walking. I was thrilled to get to 10K steps yesterday. I plan a repeat today and thankfully it will be in the 60's!

Remember Holidays aren’t meant to be perfect and they can’t be. Holidays can be special if we let them be. I encourage you to accept that fact. Instead of dreading the next gathering go into it knowing it will not be perfect, but it will be what you make of it.

Sit in your moment. Pick just one moment to focus on. Pause and really notice what’s going on around you. If someone is clamoring for attention, give it to them. Really listen to the conversations and learn to laugh at the nuances.

If you get up early maximize the day. Spend some time moving your body. Spend some time learning new software, reading a book, drawing, making room for your new things. Whatever you do, pick something that is meaningful to you.

Stay in your P.J.s a little longer. If you don’t own P.J.s I highly encourage purchasing a pair or two. You will probably find them on a great sale!

Go for a walk. Notice the temperature, but don’t solely focus on the chill. Instead, check out the neighbors’ decorations, say hello to your neighbors, and appreciate your other senses, smell, touch, and sight.

Imperfect Holidays are perfect in their own way. They are our memories made one moment at a time. Cherish them.

Kimberly Sheldahl lives in North Carolina with her husband and 3 dogs. She is the author of the soon to be released book, Hack into Oz, Get the Out of Life. She is also a member of the Teaching Faculty on Transformation T.V. and will begin airing her new show, “Boom Baby Boom” next year. Kimberly is Certified as a Executive Consultant for Kolbe Corp. and is a Certified Integrative Health Coach. She writes about well-being and productivity and plans to inspire thousands of people to become the best version of themselves.