Angus and our youngest daughter got our Christmas tree last week. I purchased all of the girls stocking stuffers way ahead of time. Even though our daughters are young adults, we all love the Christmas morning ritual of them opening the gifts in their pillowcases. Angus's family used pillowcases rather than stockings. This seemed very practical, so we kept that tradition.
And even though this is the season of peace and goodwill, all of the festivities can come with the experience of extra pressure and stress that can take a toll on health and relationships.
I have experienced internal pressure to have a good time and for things to be just right. One year I practically threatened to divorce Angus because he hadn't bought croissants, which are our daughters' breakfast of choice on Christmas day. He ended up calling every bakery still open on Christmas eve and eventually found one that had croissants and agreed to stay open for me to drive there and pick them up. He couldn't understand what the big deal was. I was acting as if my life depended on it. Not one of my finest moments. Another time, on Christmas day, I got into a massive fight with one of our daughters that disrupted our dinner. I should have known better, but I took the bait, and things blew up. Fortunately, we were both able to settle and salvage the evening so we could genuinely enjoy playing after-dinner family games which is another one of our traditions. Angus and I typically trounce our daughters at Pictionary, but this year they won at Thanksgiving, so all bets are off.
I'm sharing these stories with the hope of helping you to take the pressure off so you can avoid such shenanigans. Remember the importance of self-care during this time of year, and one of the best forms of self-care is to genuinely respect and take care of your state of mind.
Both of the instances above reflect me losing my bearings and being caught up in a busy state of mind. I lost my perspective and became emotionally reactive. In my desire to have things just right and for us to have a wonderful family experience, I practically ruined Christmas with some help, of course.
Now I can look back at these times with compassion for myself and even see the humor in my intensity, and I do want to learn from my mistakes.
So this year, I will prioritize my state of mind and do my best to notice if my habit of perfectionism kicks. My prescription for honoring my state of mind and connecting with the deeper feelings of my true nature this holiday season is lots of hikes with Niko, plenty of rest, cuddles and snuggles with Angus, page-turning novels on hand, and fun with friends. There will probably be ice baths and saunas included in the mix
I intend to consume sugar and alcohol in moderation and, to the best of my abilities, limit how much I pay attention to anxious thoughts that have me behave like a lunatic when I believe them.
How will you care for yourself and nurture a settled mind this holiday season? Of course, there is no one way to do that, but it does start with valuing and seeing the importance of having a relaxed mind and a settled nervous system. This naturally results in an open heart, a deeper sense of presence, and a greater capacity to enjoy the present moment.
Wishing you a happy and peaceful Holiday Season!
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In the first season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couple's intensive retreat programs that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilders Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.