It's holiday time! This time of year is mixed with so many emotions, expectations, hustle, memories, and nostalgia. Having such a robust experience can bring on feelings of preoccupation, and overstimulation. Feeling let down, split wide open, and downright weary.
This year, I propose that you give yourself the gift of permission. Permission can soothe the intricate and turbulent ride of relationships, feelings, inner dialogue, and stress. By doing this, you get to leave behind guilt, open wounds, shoulds, people pleasing, lack mentality, exhaustion, and disappointment. Instead, you will be able to write YOUR OWN story of the holidays. Choosing your own authentic, unique, merry version.
Permission: [per-mish-uh n] - The action of officially allowing someone to do a particular thing; consent or authorization. (definition according to the Oxford Dictionary)
Check out these 10 permissions to give to yourself.
Give yourself permission to:
- Make time for yourself: Mark out an hour, a day, or two on your calendar to go inward. This could be a day of reflection, silence, creativity, or meditation. Going inward helps you understand the cast and crew that live in your mind. With this understanding, you can cultivate self-awareness and self-compassion in order to be less reactive, empathetic, and compassionate to yourself, situations, and people around you.
Not go: If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Whether it’s a party, a lunch, a gift exchange, a family function, or traditional ceremony. When you find yourself in the energy of resentment or obligation – DON’T GO! If you feel like you should go to something out of guilt, or to please someone - DON’T GO! More than likely, you will not be your best, authentic self – so who’s happy now? No one!
Delegate: There is no award or present from Santa for being a stressed out, overworked, and frazzled. You do not have to do it all yourself. I repeat…YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF. When someone asks if you need any help, say “YES!” You build trust, friendship, and deepen relationships by allowing people to help you. If your people don't ask, DELEGATE! How nice will it feel when your friends and family arrive with the side dishes, 2-liters, and ice?
Feel comfortable giving the gift of time, energy, service, or words: The holidays don’t always have to be about spending money. They can be about spending time with people; or, writing a letter of appreciation, or helping someone with a project. Check in with yourself. Are you buying a gift because you should? Are you worried what people will think of you? Or, would you genuinely like to create a heart-centered connection. Your friends and family truly love you. They will be thrilled you’re not going into debt because of gifts you’ve purchased.
Create new traditions: Holidays can come with unrealistic expectations, unpleasant memories, or draining obligations. Perhaps you can take the opportunity to create new traditions this holiday. Maybe it can be a time to you do whatever your heart desires? Who says you can’t make pizza, have a meditation day, listen to electronic music, or go to the beach?
Feel your feelings: Whether it’s joyous, jealousy, grateful, grief, delight, or despair. Lean into all of your feelings; and, allow your feelings to remind you that you are alive. We receive many messages that we are supposed to feel connected, cheerful, or uplifted. However, the holidays are often a mixed bag of emotions. They bring up memories, both pleasant and unpleasant. Feelings come and go. Let them be your teacher, and let them provide insight about your inner landscape. Running away from your feelings results in them persisting.
Show Up: Show up to the party, the family dinner, or the religious ceremony. Show up, set expectations aside, and have fun. Show up to your time alone. If you’re feeling lonely, show up to a public place that has lights, music, or great people watching. Show up to yourself. Show up to yourself by reaching out if you want human connection. Show up to yourself by saying, “no,” to people or events if they don’t serve your highest good. If you agree to have the family over for dinner, show up and enjoy it. If you choose not to have the family over, show up to that decision. Just show up, fully engaged.
Accept: Give yourself permission to accept people and situations as they are. People typically don’t change; however, you can choose how you react. It’s likely that your aunt is still going to ask you when you’re going to get married. Or, your sister is still going to ask you why you’ve gained weight. But, you get to choose how you’re going to react. Choose to see their light. In fact, get blinded by their light.
Stick to your rituals and routines: Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you need to abandon your exercise routine, your mindfulness practice, your sleep schedule, or your nutrition needs. Give yourself permission to stick to the things that bring you peace, contentment, satisfaction, and grounding. Create sacred boundaries around the things that make you happy.
Enjoy yourself: Relax, laugh, sleep, eat, kiss, read, take a rest day, say "I love you," bake, wrap, collage, watch a movie, catch up with friends, color, journal, make a playlist, dance in your kitchen, workout, declutter, hug, have some "me" time, look at art, visit kitties and puppies at the animal shelter, volunteer...whatever makes your heart flutter.
Happy Holidays, Namaste, the Light in Me Honors the Light in You!
Jessica Sharpenstein, M.S., C.W.C.