This year, Scott and I are spending Christmas in Kennesaw, Georgia, with my mom and her partner.  We were excited about a green Christmas, but it seems it’s also green back home… oh well!

We’re used to travelling over the holidays because Scott’s family is several hours away from where we live in the Ottawa area, which means we visit his family every other year (at least).  The holidays for us are about resting, enjoying the company of loved ones and also, about being in the moment.

Conditions of Holiday Travel

Whenever we travel, we need to contend with unpredictable schedules and transit or road conditions. We’re away from our home and that means we need to create a state of home in being with each other. We also need to adapt and let go of control; we don’t get to dictate how others host us and we’re not always masters of our own schedules. (It seems to be a bigger challenge for me than for Scott.) I love elements of tradition, such as certain foods and decorations, while being an independent person who needs to break away from a numbing routine (hello, I’m an INFJ). At times, these two needs can be conflicting.

At first, these conditions may seem unlikely to be restful for someone like me (a “planner”), but having to adapt is a blessing, because it gives me a much needed break from expectations (others’ and my own) and of course, of feeling “responsible” for any and everything in my life. Being away from my environment helps me appreciate it deeply and I return to my “life” with fresh eyes and new impetus.

Redefining Family

For some, Christmas and the Holidays are about family, and that can bring up joy or grief. Personally, I family is the foundation of many relationships, but I’ve redefined “family” over the years to mean both blood relatives whom I love dearly but also, friends who feel like my soul family (or my clan). I find that thriving during milestone holidays is usually attributed to how well you frame your thinking, which is another form of adaptation.

My Secret to Happy Holidays

Although this is a time of great emotion and memories, (too) many expectations and much self-inflicted stress, I practice mindfulness over the holidays by simply reminding myself to enjoy today.

Here’s how I reframe my thinking whenever I feel a twinge of grief or an inkling of stress:

“What delicious foods am I eating today? With whom am I sharing my time? What beauty is in my day? What do I love about right now?”

Remember that the Holidays come once a year, so try to slow down and enjoy them. When you feel yourself stressing out or feeling nostalgic, reframe your thinking by asking yourself about what you can enjoy right now.

Wherever you are, I wish you a happy, peaceful Holiday filled with love and laughter.  Reiki blessings to you! – M. xo

How do you thrive during the holidays?