Create Joy this Holiday Season


By Diane Taylor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, that’s what the songs and commercials tell us anyway.

And perhaps, that is part of the issue. Lofty expectations often lead to people feeling let down. For some, the holidays are actually one of the hardest times of the year.

We all want to believe that the holiday season will be perfect, magical and take away the emptiness or void that lies deep within our hearts.

So, off we go to the mall or to festivities. We shop till we drop, we consume much holiday goodness in the form of food and drink, we decorate and we do everything we can to produce a Martha Stewart inspired event. Yet, we are often left feeling let down, lonely, unfulfilled or just plain sad during or after the big season. And of course there is always the financial and physical aftermath.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can consciously create your holiday season, experience more joy, and make it a wonderful time of the year by applying the 4M’s – Moderation, Memories, Meaning and, of course, Magic:

Avoid a holiday hangover! You have heard it before; everything in moderation is ok. This is a great thing to remember during the holidays. If you apply moderation to your spending, Christmas baking consumption, festive food and drinks and late nights to name a few, you will emerge on the other end of the season feeling much better and able to take on 2014 with much more energy. The biggest place to apply moderation is in the expectations department – be kind to yourself and do not expect perfection.

The holidays are well known to bring up feelings of grief. We think about our loved ones that are no longer with us and feel sad or sometimes lonely. Then we do our best to avoid those feelings. Avoidance is typically never an effective strategy when it comes to emotion. Schedule an hour alone over the holidays. Go for a walk or find a quiet spot. Embrace your grief. Just let it be. Honour the relationship with your loved one. Send them love. Then let it go. Whomever you are missing wants you to experience joy each and every day. Give them the holiday gift of your happiness. Then be present with and thankful for those you are sharing this holiday with.

What meaning does this time of the year have for you? Look beyond what everyone else does or expects from you. Understanding why this time of the year is special for you and your family or the special people in your life can help you create a joyful experience. Talk to your family members and ask them what their favourite parts of the holidays are. Review traditions and ask yourself, am I doing this because it brings me joy or because others expect me to.

Take time to really enjoy and appreciate the little things like egg nog lattes or peppermint mochas in pretty red cups, the sparkle of beautiful twinkly lights, your children’s school concert or gathering together as a family to play a board game. The more you let go of trying to make the holidays perfect and just be present in the moments, magic happens. Consider an opportunity to extend the magic by sharing your love with those you do know by making a charitable donation or volunteering to do a community project. Magic is found in the moments and experiences that fill our hearts and souls.

Go! Consciously create your holiday season so that you can experience much joy, happiness and, most importantly, love in the coming weeks. I wish you much magic!

Diane Taylor is a leadership and life design coach with 20 years of corporate HR experience. As principal of Glow Leadership, her purpose is to help people create meaningful balance by becoming leaders in all areas of their lives.

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