Going into the Holidays with Intention

When you think ahead to the holiday season, what is the feeling you have? It might be excitement, it might be stress or overwhelm, or it might be a mix of emotions, some positive and some not so much. Many of us might enjoy time with friends and family, but also be worried about the way someone might behave (or not behave), or put pressure on ourselves to do things “just right” to make others happy. We can get caught up in expectations of others or the expectations we perceive they have of us.

So, I’m going to suggest a different kind of preparation for the holiday season – Don’t worry about them. Instead, give yourself an intention (for YOU) to focus on, reducing the time and attention you have to give to all of those around you and what they might be thinking or doing. Instead of preparing for everything you can’t control (how much your uncle is going to drink, what comments your grandma is going to make), focus in on what you can – what you think, how you perceive things, where you put your energy. Setting your own intention pulls the focus inward, and that has a big impact on what you do

When you think ahead to the holiday season, what is the feeling that you want to cultivate in yourself? What brings you that feeling? How can you gift yourself with more of that? Are there any experiences that you want to have? Are there any that you want to skip? Pick something specific and achievable that you want to make happen for yourself over the holidays. You might decide you want to put up lights or make a family dish to bring yourself a feeling of holiday joy. You might choose to try to connect a little more deeply with someone you don’t know very well. You might choose to focus on a feeling of comfort, and notice when you enjoy this most.

Whatever you choose, write it down and take some time to reflect on how you can create it for yourself this holiday season. Bring your attention back to this intention any time you start to be swept up in stress or worry about others. Remind yourself often that this is your holiday, and that you get to make it meaningful for yourself.


Blog by Jessie Everts, Phd, LMFT
Photo by cottonbro studio via Pexels