Welcome to The Frenzy! (thank you Black Friday and Cyber Monday and everything else).
I spent yesterday in the city nearest me. Wandering around the city by myself is one of my favourite things to do. Driving there I noticed how excited I was about this little adventure, this ritual that I've grown to value. As the taller buildings came into view, I could sense the buzz, the bustling crowd, the sounds, the sights. Was that a sparkling Christmas tree I spotted across the river? And on cue an old Christmas song comes on the radio. Sigh and Bliss! I just love the contagious, positive atmosphere around the holidays!
The new lights were just up, it was seasonably cold and crisp and the air had that tantalising scent of outdoor food stalls. Route planned, (extra) hot chocolate in hand, camera on shoulder, I got busy people-watching.
Well, sort of.
A few minutes in I noticed that my fellow humans were, well, swarming (versus 'buzzing'). Intent on buying loads of 'stuff', they were completely oblivious to my existence. Literally. I did not (and do not) enjoy being blindly bumped into - with surprising force in some cases - or shoved out of the way. After one particularly solid jostle I was reminded once again how lucky I am not to be small in stature or feeble in health.
As I looked around, I noticed the stress was etched, carved onto these faces. The deep frowns, the clenched jaws. And then I realized it: I was frowning too. I'd caught the stress bug (it's highly contagious, you know).
While I'd like to say I was a paragon of Zen, that would be a lie. However, I did manage to keep my irritation in check by grounding myself, and reminding myself that I didn't have to join in on the frenzy - I didn't have to give the stress "free rent" in my head and body.
How did I ground myself in the middle of a virtual tidal-wave of anxious frenzy? I used these techniques: I chose to refocus my attention back onto the lovely smells (oh, yum), slowed back to my own normal walking pace, and located feelings of compassion I had for these stressed shoppers who were banging into each other (AND me!).
It wasn't personal. They didn't mean it. They weren't even present. But I was, so I could choose my mood. Being present allows us to do that.
So I did. I chose my mood. And pretty quickly I was back to people watching, smiling and enjoying my hot chocolate.
The holiday season and Christmas is a terribly trying time for a lot of us. Grief is triggered at this time, maybe more than at any other. The holidays are bulging with childhood memories, and not all of them will be good. For some people they will bring painful, difficult memories.
It's not all toys and laughter, we know that.
We are all under pressure to provide, celebrate, give and be happy during the holidays. And while all of these things feel and are good, scheduled joy doesn't feel as great as spontaneous joy.
With all of the stress and pressure, remember that you (can) choose how you would like to feel, think and act.
Knowing that, please accept this letter from us to you - our Holiday 'Wish List' as it were:
Wishing you all more zen, and less frenzy this holiday season
Much love, peace and warmth
Sally & Tanya xoxo
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