There’s No Place like Hell for the Holidays

Cause no matter how far away you roam … it sure is easy to get back to Hell for the holidays!

The stress of the holidays—family, social and financial obligations, is as good an excuse as any to throw ourselves into the personal hell of angst. There just isn’t enough time to get everything done, and we race from place to place to fulfill our obligations.  But it this fulfilling to ourselves?

There are so many layers of things that can turn hellish in the holiday scenario. Worry about money, dealing with possibly strained or downright bad relationships with family members, and opportunities to eat and drink way too much. Where does the joy of the holiday season go? Often anywhere but in our hearts.

Just like finding a big bug in your bathroom—the holidays leave us wondering what to do, and often spinning endlessly trying to find the path that will cause the least harm to ourselves and others. (FYI—in case you were wondering where that profound analogy comes from, I just found a big bug in my bathroom, which totally freaks me out, but I was able to get it outside without killing it). Is there any way to not go to hell for the holidays??

I am happy to tell you, there is!! And it’s not that hard—it just takes some practice. The answer is … stay present.

Focus on what is in front of you, no matter what that something is. When you find your brain running ahead to the next 18 thousand things you have to do, stop, take a deep full breath, and focus back on what is going on right now. Whether it is something you love, or something you just tolerate because you have to, find some peace in being present with the moment.

Really be at whatever social obligations you choose to attend. Create a space with whoever you might be with, and listen and interact fully. You might even find that this eases tension, if you happen to have folks you see around the holidays who aren’t quite your favorites. Enjoy your time to the fullest while it is happening.

In addition, here are a few practical tips to keep in mind. You may want to, or feel you need to, but you don’t have to please everyone. Do only what you can do and still keep your sanity and yourself out of hell. If you show up to that 30th party, but aren’t really there, it’s not going to benefit anyone.

Be realistic with the amount of time you have to get things done. Time may be an illusion, but we are stuck with it here on earth, so if you are going to be up until the wee hours so you can get your baking done, don’t bake. I love a good holiday treat, but people will live without it.

And logically, don’t spend more than you feel comfortable with trying to get everyone the gifts you think they would like. A small thoughtful gift goes a long way, and honestly your presence most likely means more to people than your presents. Ok, if there are children involved this might be a tough one … but you get my drift.

There is no reason to have a month or more of hell a year just because this time happens to be deemed the holidays.  Instead it is a great time to take care of yourself, and choose awareness over angst and worry.

If you are among the many that usually go to hell for the holidays, give yourself a break this year and skip that stop. There is not enough time to add hell into the mix!

PS:  Now I have that damn song in my head, but I am substituting in hell, so it is kind of funny.

PPS:  Another practical tip–drink green juice–it will make you feel better!!!

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About Gwen

Gwen is the creator of You can find out more on the about page or reach her via the contact page.

2 Responses to There’s No Place like Hell for the Holidays

  1. anonymous December 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    what a 1st world problem! you are hilarious and your writing is fabulous. i know many people who prefer presence over presents. thank you and keep on writing.

    • Gwen
      Gwen December 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      Thank you!!

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