The Skinny – Amy Brunell

We are in the season of madness. Everyone, everywhere shopping, driving, doing, doing, doing. Sure, let’s miss our holiday to spend the night camped out on the sidewalk, and break windows (3rd Street Promenade’s Urban Outfitters) rushing in to buy, buy and see what else to buy. Let’s not forget about the people who have to miss their holidays for stores to open early for us to buy more.

Then there is the pressure of what to get everyone on your list. This year my kids actually don’t have a clue. I’m so happy. They really know they have enough electronics and devices and don’t need more just because the latest gadget has just come out. So there is room for my husband and me to be more creative with what we can purchase our children this holiday season.

We’re looking more for experiences than stuff. But finding that just right “experience” is not easy. However, I love looking forward to a family experience we could all enjoy. It makes me feel hopeful actually.

But back to the madness.

It’s imperative that you take a breath. Breathe now. Probably what you just read caused you some anxiety. Why? Because the cultural contract we’ve agreed to is difficult for most of us. We’re looking for that special holiday magic and we’re unconsciously drawn into the conclusion that if we have that thing, eat that treat, make our house look like that magazine, go to the “right” event, host the “right” event, we’ll be happy and content. We’re ALL looking for the promised magic we saw in Hallmark holiday movies.

This year I’m going to give myself the following gifts:

I’m attending a meditation retreat this month.
I’ve written my list of projects that must get done for me to have peace so I’m reaching out for help (vs living in my own created silent anxiety) and checking them off my list.
I’m trying to clean out small noticeable areas of my home. Right now my goal is to see my dresser and the surrounding floor. When I have less stuff, I always breathe better.

I’m suggesting that you make your own list of what you need to do for yourself. Your needs don’t include having, eating or imbibing to much. Those are just the “fall guys” when our real needs aren’t getting met. Then those “fall guys” seem so important. Your needs are important. Not the vices we use to cover our needs.

Perhaps you feel lonelier this time of year? Maybe you need to sign up for a class? Perhaps you feel like I do and really miss a relative who’s passed? I try and acknowledge my grief and create new experiences that come close to what I miss. My mother and I loved to shop together during the season. We loved to go to small independent places and look at unique items. So I skip the malls and try and take myself to some “small” part of a town and wander the streets while enjoying looking at stores and the decorations.

Perhaps you should allow yourself some naps this holiday season? Buy things electronically and then take a nap? Sounds good really.

So this season, stop the madness. Give yourself a gift of pausing. Try and feel your feelings and what you really need to have peace. You don’t need more stuff, you need less stress. You need more rest and you need some feelings of having some control in your life. You want to respond to the holidays, not react to the holidays. And you can do this by slowing down, writing down your thoughts and feeling your feelings. Love yourself enough for just a few minutes here and there. You deserve it. Happy Holidays.

The Actors' Gang

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