For many people, holidays are full of high stress preparations. Are you trying too hard to create the perfect holiday for yourself and your loved ones? What would it feel like to stop all the frantic busyness, and just go outside for a calming walk through nature?

I remember when my three sons were little. Every year I would get so tired and worn out by the time Christmas came around. One day my husband came into the kitchen and found me very stressed out and on the verge of tears, because something I was trying to do wasn’t going right. He so wisely just put his arms around me and listened to my tale of woe. That was a very long time ago, so I don’t remember what I was struggling with, but I do remember telling him that it had to get done, or Christmas just wouldn’t be right. I remember telling him that this had been part of Christmas tradition for as long as I could remember.

He looked at me and said that the most important thing was for our family to be together and to share a happy time. He said the kids needed a mom who wasn’t totally stressed out and exhausted, more than they needed everything to be just so. Every year, I had spent too much time and energy making sure all the cards had been sent, all the gifts they’d written to Santa about had been purchased and wrapped, the house looked festive, all the cookies were baked and decorated, the fudge made, and the tree was shining with carefully hung tinsel, and on and on. At the time, I wasn’t too sure that he was right, but I was so tired and frustrated that I decided to let some things go and just relax a bit more. As it turned out, it was a great Christmas, and whatever it was that I let go, wound up not being all that important after all.

I have never forgotten my husband’s encouragement to make our own rituals, and to remember what’s really important. I’m glad that he had the good sense that I was lacking at that time. Our kids are all grown now, and none seem to be scarred by growing up with holidays that were not quite picture perfect. I can’t say that I still didn’t get tired and a bit stressed by the time we were all in bed each Christmas Eve, but I can say that I came to understand that we each have the freedom to create our own way of celebrating holidays. Each year, it got a bit easier to give myself permission to be less than perfect and to let unimportant things go.

If you discover that you’re feeling stressed over holiday preparations, why not bundle up and go outside for a walk. Enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. Breathe deeply and slowly. Allow your body to relax and unwind. It will help you stay sane, and give you the space and time to decide for yourself what’s really important about this holiday. Take really good care of yourself in this busy time, and remember that you get to decide how you want to celebrate. Have fun, be flexible, and be in the moment as much as possible.

Until next time,

Linda

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