How to Keep it Together During the Holidays


Yay! This is my first post on my entertainment and mental health blog. Yes, it may sound a little strange, but there is an intersection between entertainment and mental health. The things we watch impact the way we think which in turn impacts how we perceive the world which can alter how the world perceives us. Yada yada yada! We'll have time to talk about that in the future. Anyway, today’s post focuses on something ever so timely, the Holidays! Dum, dum, dum!!! We've been fed the Leave it to Beaver, version of Christmas where Mom is wearing her Christmas inspired apron and single handedly cooking an exquisite and effortless meal while Dad shovels the drive and the kids set the table. While reality has our kids acting more like Lord of the Flies, the electricity shuts off because a transformer's out, "that" cousin is coming...the one that does everything perfectly, and your husband is frantically wrapping gifts (badly, might I add). There are so many emotions one can feel during the holidays but it tends to violently ricochet between reminiscent and joyful and full of dread and sadness. If you plan on keeping it together during the holidays like I do we have some serious preplanning to do.

Clean Slate: My Mom always knew when I was out of sorts. She found that my personal space reflected my internal space. The more cluttered it was out there the more chaotic it was in here. So, I developed some techniques for decluttering when I knew I was preparing to be under stress, like finals week or before a job interview. First, I did some general organizing. Like moving things from one room to another I called my "staging space." My staging space soon became an unbearable mess but the chosen room was soon perfectly organized and I could move on to the next space. Cleaning your home or in some cases celebrating in a far off location where there are staff designated to clean after you will help you set the stage for a peace filled and together holiday.

Mindfulness: This is such a trendy term that it may have lost some of it’s meaning. Staying mindful isn’t just a stone in the long winding pathway toward enlightenment, it is the act of being present enough to embrace and possibly enjoy what’s happening right here and now. This means doing one thing at a time, as much as you can. I understand that the turkey is in the oven, the kids are fighting, and your grandmother is asking some pretty strange borderline offensive questions. But occasionally shift your focus from holiday chaos to one thing and fully experience that thing. Of course you will have to shift your focus at times but knowing that you have to pay attention to something else is also pretty darn mindful.

Remember your Blessings: The holidays can really push the gratitude issue. Of course we want to be grateful but we also want the newest phone, computer, or purse. Sometimes taking a step back to remember why we celebrate the holidays can help place perspectives on any shortcomings.