Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgHow to Enjoy the Holiday Season

We are in the midst of the Holiday Season and it will reach a fever pitch soon. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy the holiday season.

Find meaning in the Holidays

We learn what a holiday means to us from our childhood. We observe what the holiday means for other people then interpret meaning to it. We gain notions about what a holiday is from the media. It is important to spend some time figuring out what is important for you and your family. Is it the time you spend together? Is it cooking? Is it being in fellowship together? Is it the rituals you built with them over time together? Figure out the meaning of the holiday for yourself and your family.

Building Family Traditions

The holiday season can be an incredible time of the year, but they can also be difficult for some of us. For myself, I am in the midst of building traditions with my family. Every year we clarify what is important to us, as individuals and as a family. Every activity is reviewed for whether or not it will continue on to the next year, or not. We are building family traditions together. Itís an exciting process.

Manage Expectations

What Iíve learned is that I have this particular idea of how my life is or how it should be in my mind. When it doesnít meet my expectation then I become frustrated, disengaged or overwhelmed. I grew up watching TV so it was those images of family that I wanted. TV Images that didnít look like my family. What I internalized was shame, resentment and frustration. My mother reminded me to honestly look honestly at my family. I did. I learned to understand the historical trauma that my family endured. I understood the various coping mechanisms each of us has. I learned to accept people for who they are. It was an invaluable lesson.

Distinguish between Needs and Wants

Itís important to teach our children the difference between needs and wants. My teenage kids get caught up in the consumerist fever this time of the year. They want this, they want that. They look at me with this expectation that I am able to answer all these whims. As a single parent amongst the working poor, I try to get what I can. I learned to help my kids understand our finances, so I sit with them each month to review bills. It helps them to learn how to manage finances. It distinguishes for them the difference between a need and a want. It is a skill that is needed by everyone. Also, it helps them manage their expectations. Theyíve learned to save money for stuff that is important to them and they work to get what they want. Invaluable life skills

Donít Compare, You May Despair

Itís difficult to not compare your current circumstances with other people. Donít do it. Celebrate what you've got. Appreciate what you have. Itís important to understand that when you compare your circumstance with someone else that you donít know many factors that contribute to their life. When you find happiness, contentment and joy in what you got then your overall satisfaction in the holidays will increase. Make the best of what life has given you.

Be Gentle with Yourself

I am harder on myself than anyone else could be during this time of year. I judge myself harsher. I am my own worst critic. I learned to be gentle with myself during this time of year. I may eat too much, but I find my way to the gym to exercise. I find myself feeling sad because of the loss of a family member, but I do something in remembrance of them and share that joy in prayer with them. I seek out people who love to laugh and have a joy about living during this time of year, cause they are reminders of how vibrant life is.

Reconnect with People

Holidays can be a time to reach out to people you havenít talked to throughout the year. Our lives become busy with the tasks of living that we tend to lose contact with important people in our life. Call them, write to them, make a homemade gift for them. Demonstrate their importance in your life. Reconnect with people.

Itís hard not to get caught up the anxiety of the holiday season. We live in a capitalistic society so we are encouraged to buy stuff to prove our love for family. The commercials entice us to buy more, spend more on stuff that we donít need or canít afford. I hope this list can help you find joy and happiness during this time of year, however you celebrate it.

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