Once again the holidays are here. And once again many of us feel overwhelmed and like there just isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done that needs to be done. And perhaps there isn’t. Which is a message to us that we are doing to much. Many of us go into the holidays trying to recreate the holidays of our past. Or perhaps trying very hard to not have any duplication of past holidays. Regardless we often put immense pressure on ourselves and the holiday which can end up disappointment. We also dread doing parts of the holiday preparation. I myself found myself falling prey to this. I make holiday cookies every year. I give them to my near and dear and people love them. That being said as I get older standing on my feet in the kitchen for eight hours straight is not such a good idea anymore. Last year I got smart and made a few batches of dough a few days prior and then I had less to do on cookie day. Much easier. This year the holiday season seems shortened with the late Thanksgiving and the first two Fridays of the month (cookie day is on Friday which is no client day) so I can’t get to the cookies until the 20th. I found myself dreading both cookie day and the two day training that was changing my schedule.

Then I stopped to think. I want to go to this training because I think it will make me a better therapist. It will be intense and tough but I know I will learn a lot. And I want to make the cookies since for me it is an act of love. So why was I letting myself dread doing this? Because I had let the cookies become an obligation instead of something I enjoy doing. Once I was able to reframe this in my head I was able to once again look forward to cookie day. I love this time of the year and I don’t want it to turn into obligations rather than a time of happiness. I think that is what often happens to people.  Think about the drive to do certain things this time of the year and evaluate whether they are obligations or fun which has turned into an obligation. When you can you either eliminate the task or look at it differently.

Unreasonable expectations are the number one killer of holiday joy. Let yourself do the things that feel good and let the rest go. People don’t remember the meal or the gifts or the decorating much past New Years. They do remember the good times had with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.