Can I start by just saying that there is no guide to how we’re supposed to navigate anything in this new pandemic world? The reasons we’re struggling to enjoy the holiday season while staying alcohol free run the whole range from I’m still stuck at home with my family to I’d do anything to be able to see my family! There’s no fail-proof, one size fits all guide on how to do this. It’s new to all of us but there’s a way to protect yourself regardless of what emotions are guiding you.
It’s no secret that the holiday season is an emotionally charged one. This year probably more so than any other. Garden variety holiday stress has now been compounded. Health concerns, financial woes, and all of the other whammies that 2020 has continued to throw our way are all now factors in our stress. Many of you have given up on trying to enjoy the holiday season and you’re just hoping to survive it!
I’m not going to wax poetic about all the reasons you should enjoy the holiday season. In a year like this one, no one needs to hear that! What I want to do is give you real, practical tips that will help protect what you’ve worked so hard to maintain this year. Despite a pandemic, political turmoil, crazy weather, and whatever else 2020 brought you, you’re still standing!
How To Enjoy The Holiday Season
First off – you are not responsible for making anyone else happy, for crafting a perfect holiday for them or for what they feel or think this season should be. Often we feel as others are dependent upon us to ensure a “happy holiday.” If you’ve made it through the TNM process, you already know that the only thing we can control is ourselves. Whatever someone else expects of us, the holiday, or anything else is on them. We can’t provide that. We can however create the most perfect holiday season for ourselves.
Only Do What You Can
Next, don’t take on unnecessary obligations. The stress of the holidays can really overwhelm us and make it hard to enjoy the holiday season. That’s especially true when we feel as if we are obligated to bake all the cookies, purchase and wrap all the presents, plan the trip or the accommodations for the visitors, and cook the perfect meal from scratch. That just sucked the joy out of me writing that.
Stop trying to be a superhero. Embrace being human and do as much as you’re capable of without breaking. There’s no shame in asking for help or delegating. One thing I learned to let go of is doing certain things out of tradition. This Thanksgiving was much smaller for us. Yet as I started to plan it I was still intent on cooking ALL the food we always served. My husband walked by, took a look at the list, and crossed off at least six items.
“What do you think you’re doing,” I asked him in shock. “We always have those at Thanksgiving.”
“Yep, and no one ever eats it,” he replied. “We don’t like it. Don’t make it.” (In that moment, he was my superhero.)
Traditions are great if you enjoy them – when they become an unwelcome obligation it’s time to let them go!
Make Time For What You Love
Also, don’t get so caught up in your to-do list that you’re burnt out and incapable of forming any thoughts or decisions. That’s a sure-fire way to put your alcohol free status in jeopardy. Build downtime into your days so you truly can enjoy the holiday season. Make a list of the things you truly love about this time of year. Now, make sure those top your to-do list. By filling your bucket with the positive emotions and experiences, you’ll be in a better state of mind to take on the other things that still need to get done.
Finally, remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how you do the holiday season. Go in with curiosity, compassion, and grace – for yourself and others. Let that goodwill guide you and inspire others too!
Wish there were no rules when it comes to stopping drinking? Try The Alcohol Experiment and experience what it’s like to take a break from alcohol on your terms!