Please, slow down, relax and be kind
I’m convinced that probably everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It’s just one more reason to always be kind. ~ Yolanda Hadid
So this week we officially begin what we call the Holiday Season. For me it is an utter and completely mixed bag and the deeper we get into it, quite frankly, the less I like it.
We start with Thanksgiving this week and it’s my absolute favorite holiday every year. I love the fall, I love football, I love being out in nature and I love cooking and eating good food. So take a holiday that for me traditionally encompasses all of that and I’m a pretty happy boy.
Of course what I’ve already started noticing this week is the coinciding start of the holiday madness. I went to the grocery store yesterday and it was of course the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Which as a former grocery store worker I know is the highest grossing day of the year for most stores. So I mentally prepared for the madness, I also went at what is typically a bit of an off-time, early afternoon. None the less, the store was much more crowded than normal, the parking lot more full and every customer more amped up than normal. A perfect example was a woman driving down the parking lane, an older guy backing out in a pickup. It’s hard to see and likely he didn’t see her. She stopped fifteen feet away in no danger of a collision, not to let him out, but to lay on her horn aggressively, then drive passed him. She easily could have stopped and let him out but chose instead to create tension. It followed in the store with people being aggressive about getting passed you, yelling at their kids, being grouchy in the lanes waiting.
It’s exactly this tension that I dislike around this time of year. Add to it extra tension on the roads and especially at airports and on airplanes. It seems every year becomes the new largest travel year, more traffic and even more crowded airports. Increasingly this year people find themselves going out more, shopping more and traveling more which puts them more often in these stressful situations and interactions.
So what are we to do? We all can contribute to making it all just a little bit better. We can slow down, relax and be kind. I know, it’s not an easy request, being cut off in traffic, trying to find a parking spot, kids are yelling at you and more than that everything this time of year is set up to massively distract them. Everywhere you turn there’s a kid focused display that gets them asking if they can see it, touch it, have it or go to that event. People, who frankly, already act like they are the only ones everywhere, seem to even more so forgot the rest of us not only exist, but are in the same space. There’s a lot of stress on all of us all of the time this time of year and I haven’t mentioned the financial stresses.
But I’m going to tell you something, while it seems like slowing down, relaxing and being kinder than normal will make things harder, it won’t. First slow down, I know, there’s so much too be done. But is it all necessary, or does it have to be done right now, it feels like it, but is that reality? Slow down, don’t put yourself into the position of having to be hectic and pressed for time. Relax, understand that you’re about to drive into madness, know the stress is coming. So tell yourself that it’s coming and decide in advance not react, decide to let the person into traffic, let that person push into line in front of you. Give yourself extra time, realize that being late won’t be the end of the world. I know that’s not easy but I suggest you even go further. Purposefully go slower than normal, hold more doors for people, let more people into traffic, simultaneous arrival at an empty spot, let the other person have it, or if they aggressively take it, say happy holidays instead of getting angry.
There are ways to avoid a lot of this as well. Are there things you can order and do online instead of in person? Do more advanced planning, do things whenever possible at off times. Lower your expectations of how perfect things need to be for each holiday. Yes that green bean casserole you make that takes an hour is super delicious and a bit of a tradition. So what if you run out of time and don’t make it for dinner, it’s ok, forgive yourself in advance. As much as possible take the stress off, ask for help if you need it, don’t just struggle and resent others for not helping. Do your in-laws stress you out, then don’t have them stay with you for five days. If you can afford it, put them up in a hotel for part of the time. Or even suggest in alternate years they don’t come or you don’t go. Remember that family traditions, if those traditions stress you out, are not worth continuing. Create new traditions that aren’t so stressful.
Slow down, relax and be kind, after all, isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about? Make it easier on yourself and have happy holidays my friends. ~ Rev Kane
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