Let’s be honest here…. Christmas is going to feel very different this year. Christmas is stressful enough with all the expectations, family drama, business and financial demand. Now on top of that we are attending social distance regulations, a whole new set of expectations and family drama as well as a complex level of grief and loss. I don’t know about you but I am going to miss going to grandma and grandpa’s house filled with laughter, family, and good food. Sometimes we don’t realize what blessings we have until they are missing or different.
Are you experiencing any concerns, fears, or worries around the Christmas holidays? Maybe you are worried that Christmas won’t feel the same as it has previously or that you won’t financially be able to provide your family with all the ‘trimmings’ this year. Maybe you’re worried that family members will be upset or disappointed that you don’t feel it is right to have a family gathering this year or are choosing to stay home. All of these concerns are normal and felt by so many, due to the pandemic. I have 8 tips to help you find joy when Christmas feels different.
1.Let go of society’s expectations of what Christmas looks like in the movies or should feel/be like. There is much beauty to be found in a simple Christmas with those you love. I encourage you to let go of all the pressure you feel and make the holidays your own.
2. Understand that it is ok to say no. Boundaries are an important part of taking care of yourself and your family and sometimes that means having to say no.
3. Focus your attention on the things you can control and release the things that are out of your control.
4. Connect with those you love, even if it means being creative about how we do that (phone, video calls etc). When we are faced with stressors, fear, and challenges, our instinct is for belonging, for a safe space to land. A healthy loving relationship/friendship can create a deep experience of inner peace.
5. Finding joy in the simple moments – “Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness”. Joy is a light that fills you with hope, faith, and love. (Adele Rogers St. John’s). Joy is from God’s goodness, presence, protection, and sovereignty. It runs deep and it can be present even during unhappy times.
6. Be mindful. This means truly being present in each experience and activity including eating, walking, and everyday conversations. Spend time in nature. Nature can be very grounding and calming.
7. Spread Christmas cheer – doing good not only helps us to feel good inside but it also makes the world a little brighter and friendlier.
8. Implement a practice of gratitude (gratitude journal, saying gratitudes at dinner or every day at 2pm etc.) Brene Brown shares that “practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives”.
Joy is such as beautiful emotion and human experience we get to delight in. Brene Borwn’s research also sheds lights on the fact that joy is one of the most vulnerable emotions we can experience. I joy is experienced deep within our soul and radiates through our body. I believe there is no separation between body, mind, and soul as they are so interconnected. When I experience true joy my body gets all giddy and I start to bounce or squeal as if its ready to burst outta me.
So how do we then experience joy when things feel pretty crappy around us or within us? Brene Brown’s research made it clear that in order to be able to truly experience joy we also need to have a practice of gratitude. She talks about a practice of gratitude as not just being a fluffy “what are you thankful for” moment but being a daily ritual a true practice of gratitude. She gives some great examples and explains these concepts really well in this video I want to share with you!
“Joy is knowing that life at it’s core is good” (~ Unknown)
Create a Holiday Bucket List! (Covid Style)
My husband and I used to do this every year when we first got married. I actually found one from 2011 on my computer that I am going to share with you. Even just reading it brings back fond memories.
Host a virtual party (Click here for ideas)
Journal/Reflect (there is no wrong answer)
2. Fill Your Mug with Joy & Warmth (click download button below)
3. Read the article 10 Small Ways to Bring Peace Into Your Home. Practice one item per day.
I truly hope that you find peace, joy, and love during this challenging holiday season. I hope you found some of these tips and activities helpful! I would love to hear from you… comment below and share some great #CovidChristmas ideas you have!
Want to stay in touch or follow along in my journey of becoming a wholehearted mom? Join me on Instagram @mentallyhealthy_me
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