The last several weeks of the year mean different things to each of us. For many people, it's a season of pure joy. We look forward to spending time with family and friends and doing all of the fun holiday activities. I have always loved the season and the way my family celebrates it. I view it as a beautiful season of peace, joy, and love. But I know that not everyone feels that way.
For many, it is a difficult time. Some struggle with financial difficulties, loneliness, and loss. Even though the overall feeling for me is one of joy, since my father died in 1997- a few days before the new year, the season has felt different for me. It changed even more when my mother died in 2022. There is a longing. I long for the time when all of us celebrated together.
Others face stress and exhaustion related to trying to ensure that their kids and other family and friends have all that they need as well as all that they want. Many face difficult family dynamics. Still others face discomfort due to being surrounded by people celebrating the season in ways that differ from their tradition, culture, or religious beliefs. Because of any of these things, many find this time of year anything but peaceful.
While there may not be a universal way for approaching this season, just like any other time of the year experiencing a sense of peace is an ideal that most would welcome. Here are 8 strategies for cultivating a season of personal peace.
- Accept Your Feelings: An important part of finding peace is acknowledging and accepting your feelings. Whether it's joy, sadness, or a mix of emotions, giving yourself the space to feel without judgment is essential.
- Set Boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary. Pay attention to your own needs. Establishing clear boundaries protects your time, energy, and peace, ensuring you have enough to give both to others and to yourself. Redefine for yourself and for your family what the season truly means.
- Avoid Comparison: Resist the urge to compare your experience to others. A social media-style celebration is unrealistic. A season like your neighbor’s is not necessary. Likewise, avoid being concerned that others don't celebrate the same things that you do or don't understand your traditions. That others might get it wrong does not minimize the significance of what you do, believe, and care about. Your journey is distinct and valid. Comparisons can lead to stress and frustration, hindering your ability to fully enjoy the season and find peace.
- Continue Self-Care Rituals: Incorporate self-care rituals into your routine during the season. With all of the busyness, we are often too quick to skip that workout, that walk, that healthy meal, or that period of meditation. Whether it's a quiet moment with a book, a soothing bath, or a walk in nature, prioritize activities that bring you joy and peace.
- Express Gratitude: Cultivate a habit of gratitude. Reflect on the positive aspects of your life, expressing thanks for both the opportunities to give and the blessings you receive. Don't leave out you. Think about your positive qualities and take a moment to express gratitude for you.
- Do for Others, but Also Do for You: Strike a balance between giving to others and taking care of yourself. Far too often we equate love with things. We equate our family’s happiness with giving them everything they want. We tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the list. We see others as deserving and ourselves as not. Some of us adopt the "as long as they're happy" attitude. In reality, joyfully doing for others can coexist with joyfully doing for yourself.
- Address Feelings of Longing: Acknowledge any feelings of longing. Simply recognizing these emotions can provide a sense of release. For example, it's not unusual to long for a lost loved one and to want the season to be experienced the same way as it was before the loss. If that longing becomes unmanageable, explore ways to help you embrace those memories in a more healthy way.
- Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a professional, if needed. Leaning on others to help you manage the season is a sign that you are prioritizing yourself.
If you find yourself struggling during this time of year, take brave action and consciously embrace these practices. As a result, you may find yourself on the road that can lead to turning the year-end into a season of balance and personal peace. Remember, it's not about doing everything but about doing what matters most to you and finding equilibrium between giving and self-care.
This year I am choosing to focus more on #4- Continue Self-Care Rituals and #6- Do for Others, but Also Do for You.
Share in the comments strategies that have helped you find personal peace in the last several weeks of the year.
Founder, Stacey M Design Inc.
In launching my Sunshine and Self-CareTM Greeting Card Subscription Program, I seek to remind us that even as we enjoy supporting others, to also tend to our own needs and goals. Each month it includes a Note to Self card which is a reminder of ways that we can practice self-care, self-love, and self-advocacy. This blog expands on the Note to Self card about personal peace. Click here to learn more about Sunshine and Self-CareTM Greeting Card Subscription Program.
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