Friday, December 17, 2010

Fight for fun!

Everyone is talking about the stress.

Happy Friggin' Holidays.

I spent years feeling like I was fighting against the stress. The expectations. The expected gift giving. The hours of baking. My life felt like a battle started the second week of December, and it was full on war until December 27th (about the time most of the dust settled).

I have a different approach now. I don't fight AGAINST the stress. I fight FOR the fun.

Because it's worth it.

My mindset has me visualizing my family running toward the happy and the cheerful and the festivities. Not running away from something miserable that is trying to engage us - nipping at our heels.

If something holiday-esque gets between us and actual fun and joy, then we have a few choices.

1) We can bypass it - keep it behind us and not make it a part of what we do.

2) We can make the necessary sacrifices to participate, but only because there is plenty of fun and joy to be found within the effort.

3) We can get more involved and help give the whole darn thing a face lift so that it oozes joy and fun. Maybe everyone else is equally miserable in this event or "tradition," and no one feels strong and safe enough to step forward and encourage change.

It doesn't always work out so smoothly. Sometimes we have to choose #1 way more than #3. Sometimes we go with #2 because the joy and fun comes from knowing our participation BRINGS joy and fun to someone else. It's all a balance.

But your mindset. Your mindset makes all the difference.

Fight for fun.

Run toward the happy.

Choose joy!

(photo by Gözde Otman, used with permission)


Erika said...

I totally agree. We work so hard managing negative emotions and forget that there's much positive emotion regulation to be managed too! Cheers to having fun and keeping it positive.

Megan said...


robyncalgary said...

LOVE the last 3 lines :) HAPPY holidays to you and yours <3

Birthblessed said...

Nice, Christine. Well said.

Amie said...

needed this today!

Sunday said...

Me too!

Brenda said...

I agree. Since I finished college and haven't started working yet, this has been the most relaxing Christmas season EVER! And I have loved it.

Diana said...

Agreed! I think too many people forget that it really is ok to slow down, even during the holidays. We don't have to attend EVERY party. We don't have to visit Santa. We don't have to participate in the neighborhood goodie exchanges, even though everyone showers us with stuff.

Many people have a notion that boundaries are strict and rigid and limiting. That's not the case. Setting boundaries and sticking to them actually brings freedom and allows us to run toward joy. If various activities don't fit in your boundaries, let them go. Sometimes there's grief that comes with that, but let that go, too. In a nutshell, keep what you LOVE and let the rest go. Realize that each year the boundary perimeters will expand as our kids and families feel safe and comfortable living within them.

Elizabeth @ My Life, Such as it is... said...

It is hard to take that 1st step in saying "No, we're not doing/participating in .... this year" when it is a tradition BUT oh so very freeing to realize you don't have to do it just because you're expected to or everyone else is doing it.

We skipped Santa photos this year. Charlie has never been that into sitting on Santa's lap - getting presents yes, sitting on lap for photo no. I miss it for me but it was money we didn't need to spend and a hassle at the mall none of us needed. And you know, Christmas will come just the same. :)

QueenB said...

Joy is contagious. I say, stay away from her, we definitely don't want what she's got in OUR house this time of year.....hahaha!

beauty obscure said...

Elizabeth - a few families I work for (kids have special needs) have gone to our local 'breakfast with santa' It's a way of having that tradition while avoiding the mall... and the actual having to go to close to Santa... Just an idea (do other places do breakfast with santa, or is my city just really weird?)

Integrity Singer said...

i think the hardest part is standing one's ground on what is "fun" for your individual family. It can even be isolating to always be the odd man in the festive season that says, "er, um ... well, yeah. That doesn't work for my kids" and then gracefully bow out.

But the flip side is knowing that it will always be "fun" because if you pursue those activities, directions and events that keep the lid on escalating behaviors then it WILL be fun. The trick is to find the other people in your circle of influence that understand your immediate family's idea of "fun" and who won't mock or ridicule you for it.

Tonight's "fun" was watching an odd christmas flick on netflix on my laptop while we ate stupid pillsbury premade reindeer cookies and frozen pizzas. Not necessarily festive but no one was crying or screaming and in my book, that is a hootenanny!

Gloriana said...

Here's to an oozing post-facelift Holiday season. Ding dong, hallelujah!