Finding Joy During the Holidays
By Mooneen Mourad
Enjoy December and
January holiday celebrations and rituals! Many religions and cultures
have celebrations, religious services and parties in December and January.
There are services, prayers, parties, overeating, decorations, gifts,
music and expenses incurred during this annual month-long festival!
It is a time of celebration for many of us-join the crowd. The following
are some thoughts, suggestions and tips to help you be more productive
in your work-and enjoy the holidays. Remember, people are your priority.
Have some fun!
1. Manage your expectations.
Sometimes that means lowering your standards! Stress is created by the
difference between your expectations and reality. Expect to accomplish
only a reasonable amount of work and fun by your behavior and actions,
for yourself, others you love and the public at large. Be responsible
2. Maximize your
time. Plan specific tasks for each day that must be accomplished in
your professional life. Make some clear decisions. Do those things that
will give you the best rate of return on your time and efforts.
3. Make that priority
list now. Then, schedule calls, appointments or tasks accordingly in
your planner in ink. After those high priority and very necessary things
are in your schedule, forget about them until it's time to act.
4. Plan some annual
goals. Schedule the tasks to accomplish these goals after January 2,
1999. Procrastinate with permission. Relegate to the first week in January
any tasks that can be put off until then-especially those which cause
undue stress now or prohibit you from enjoying this annual holiday time.
This time is best used to invest in people. Use January to "jump
the gun" on the new year and accomplish what did not get done in
5. Put people first.
People are the most important things in our lives, everything we do
is for or because of people. Remember to put those people first, especially
those that are dear to you, those you love deeply. Remember to tell
them you love them and show them with actions that reflect that love.
6. Stay in the moment.
If you are working, be attentive and deliberate. When you are not working
and you are doing a "holiday thing," enjoy it. This is a great
time to connect in a relaxed way with those you care about.
7. Assume that some
"troubled relationships" will surface. If and when they do,
attempt to avoid confrontation when possible, especially in public.
Holidays often contribute to negative stress and emotion. This is not
always the best time to correct things that have been troublesome for
a long time, so tolerate some negative feelings and deal with solutions
when time and your energy permits. Promise yourself that you will deal
with these issues in a proactive and deliberate manner in the future
when the time is appropriate.
8. Be prepared to
experience some heavy, sad, depressing or problematic feelings. Expect
this as predictable; don't be disappointed or surprised. You do not
have to act on these feelings right now unless you choose to.
9. Assume that each
day is a gift. This may be the last holiday season you or a loved one
may have. How would you like to use this time? Give this some serious
thought and choose wisely.
10. Limit the amount
of drinking and food intake. This can be a time of poor health decisions.
Don't drink and drive. Watch your diet and the amount of food and drink
you consume, especially if you are on a special health regime. Try to
walk or exercise a little more, even just a half hour a day. Treat your
11. Be creative
with gifts and money spent. Discuss this with family members and others
and agree on a reasonable amount. Avoid going into debt. Substitute
"acts" for buying gifts. For example, take a loved one to
lunch, a child to the mall, an elderly neighbor to see the decorations
downtown or visit someone you care about.
12. Realize that
people show love in very different ways. Some show their love in the
following ways: doing favors or acts of service for others; spending
quality time with others; communicating verbally, talking and listening
with others: giving and receiving gifts with others; or by being physical,
holding, hugging, kissing and touching others. Try to match what you
do for others based on what they value and then also allow others to
give to you. Be gracious.
13. Create a new
tradition. Ask family members and significant others for their input.
Write out the ideas in detail. Implement one idea in December and save
some others to do throughout the year, then write these in everyone's
calendar. Some ideas: try reading a holiday story as a family on December
24 at 8:00 p.m., as everyone sits on the floor on blankets with the
decorations and fireplace lights setting the mood. Or try an "Every
Saturday Morning Bagel Breakfast." You might suggest a Sunday evening
story hour or Sunday dinner in the dining room as a family, (with no
excuses for absences). Choose one evening monthly to watch a favorite
movie with a special carry-out food theme. The main thing to remember
is to choose traditions which you will really do, and those that can
be easily replicated annually.
14. Celebrate your
family holiday on an alternate date. Choose a date that is easy for
family members. Some choose a different day or another month completely-in
January or June, rather than on Christmas day. This allows them quality
time for themselves, the opportunity to buy gifts they wanted but did
not receive and the chance to buy them at sale prices! The main thing
is that everyone can attend the family celebration. Blended families
or those out of town may use two different dates.
15. Enjoy some good
music-really beautiful, soothing or enlightened music. Listen to recorded
or live concerts.
16. Find quiet time.
Use some part of the day to sit quietly and privately to reflect on
yourself in any way you choose. Be good to yourself, be kind. This is
your life, the only one you have. Love it!
Mooneen Mourad is an educator, trainer and consultant
who has received national and local recognition for her work. She is a past
director of training for Realty One University. Mooneen has expertise
in personal growth issues and in the field of art.
E-mail Mooneen for
scheduling a workshop, coaching, and
training or to inquire about purchasing her artwork.
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