Under Pressure

darren-nolander-under-pressure-featuredThe holiday season is filled with joy and cheer, not to mention a substantial amount of stress as we attempt to make sure joy and cheer is had by all. Just as many parents say vacations are rarely “vacations” – with many requiring recovery times of their own – so, too, can the holidays be a time of overwhelming pressure.

We’ve got relatives we haven’t seen in ages who are just brimming with inappropriate personal questions. We’re perhaps stuck sleeping in our old childhood rooms, on that same single bed, or, even worse, sharing a room or living area with one of our siblings because, as Mom put it “it’s cramped quarters!”

There are high school friends to catch up with, family obligations to attend to, gifts to buy and feign enjoyment over, New Year’s Eve dates to secure and end-of-year goals to hit. With all this on our plates, it’s no wonder so many of us end up on the “naughty” list!

Don’t let this pressure suck the fun out of what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Instead, use these last days of 2016 to live in the moment. Now is the perfect time to practice mindfulness. To be fully present in the here and now. The ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Future will inevitably rear their heads as we fill everyone in on what was important to us in 2016 and what we hope to achieve in 2017.

It’s easy to let insecurities, or perceptions of judgement or inadequacy mar our ability to fully embrace the holidays, our relatives, and that joy and cheer. It’s also downright natural for us to want to compare ourselves to others. How do we stack up? Are we doing okay? Are we winning the race? Are we even in the running?!

Rather than let memories of the past or fears of the future ruin this holiday, what if we just let go of the judgements, both the ones we make about ourselves and the ones we place on others. Spending this season fully present, fully interacting with the ones we love can be a much more pleasant experience when we’re not concerned about where we rank or whether our life choices are reasonable or even defensible.

There is a famous quote that is pretty apt this time of year, and chances are you’ve heard it before. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present.” Don’t get so wrapped up in your own storyline this holiday season that you can’t appreciate the abundance of joy and cheer that is right in front of your face, just ready for the taking, if you’d only reach out and grab it.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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