Are you feeling anxious about the upcoming holiday season? Lowering expectations might be the answer you’re looking for.
Because the holiday season is often built upon exceedingly high, sometimes unrealistic expectations.
Let’s think about this. As young children, we dream about Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We can’t wait to experience the bliss of opening our gifts under our twinkling, glowing tree.
Our expectations are, naturally and understandably, through the roof!
Then we get older. The problem is we forget that the entire experience is now different.
Now, we’re holiday producers. And we set the tone for our holidays at home.
Our duties include gift acquiring, organizing, home decorating, meal preparation, etc.
And let’s face it. It’s A LOT of work.
After the holidays, we may even feel a letdown. We think, ‘This holiday was tough!’
We need to figure out how to lower our expectations in order to enjoy the pleasant surprises that await.
How can lowering expectations help?
Imagine wiping the slate clean and expecting very little from your holidays.
Imagine expecting those few days to be like any other. Envision a handful of family dinners, but no false hope that you will feel exuberance at every moment.
In light of gifting, consider focusing on the joy you’ll feel selecting gifts for loved ones. Release the idea that every gift will be perfectly well received.
Drop the illusion that the meals will all be filled with intimate connection and joyful celebration. (They very well may be! And that will be a bonus.)
Remember that every year is entirely different.
And now we can experience the holidays through a more mature, experienced lens.
We know that every day has moments of peak joy and those of sadness. Feelings of loss, grief, overwhelm, and disappointment mix with those of anticipation, gratitude, and contentment.
And we can see the whole picture coming together, with our feelings blending together.
The good news is that now we have access to many tools in our bags.
We can try on some positive affirmations for size. They may serve us well as we navigate this often uneven holiday terrain.
Self-care is most important right now, too.
How else does this work?
After we’ve changed our perspective of the holidays and what to expect, we can find ourselves relieved.
The pressure is off!
And we may find ourselves delightfully surprised by unexpected joyful outcomes. For instance:
- That last-minute holiday brunch with friends was epic!
- There were more moments of happiness than anticipated.
- A meaningful gift exchange happened with your partner.
Or maybe you deepened your gratitude practice.
And you took the necessary breaks and watched your favorite movies or television series.
Perhaps you caught up with friends and family whom you deeply enjoy – but often don’t get to see.
Even family celebrations went more smoothly than anticipated.
You did it!
And, now, guess what? You’re gazing out at a brand new year! And lowering expectations for this holiday season allows you to feel hopeful and excited about new beginnings ahead.
You’re able to step below the busyness of the holiday ramp-up and are able to appreciate the true beauty of the season. The quiet peacefulness underneath it all. And the knowledge that you’re blessed, loved, and right where you belong.