If your family is anything like mine, things can get a little crazy at holiday gatherings. Like this one time we started a conga line through the house for no apparent reason at all. (Okay, let’s be honest, that wasn’t the first time.) Moving on. The point is, all families have their own kind of crazy and most of us have “feelings” about what it’s going to be like to gather with the ones we love over the holidays. This is especially true when it involves gathering with people we didn’t grow up with.
Because seriously, their kind of crazy just isn’t normal.
Just ask Scott. I don’t think he grew up dancing in a conga line through the house. I’m thinking he probably didn’t do family olympics on Friday nights in the front yard for all to see either. He’s had a lot to adjust to, spending time with my family at the holidays. And yet, I think he’s grown to appreciate a few of our family antics over the years, just like I’ve grown to appreciate a few of theirs.
Even so, it doesn’t make “their kind of crazy” easy for us during the holidays.
No matter how much we love the people in our families, being together, in close quarters for extended periods of time, rouses all of the feelings, good and bad. This is especially true during the holidays, when you may be missing someone you used to celebrate with, or longing for healing in a certain relationship, that hasn’t happened yet. Even on a day like Thanksgiving, when we’re focusing on all the abundance we have to be grateful for, we might need a little break from the crazy. So I thought I’d share this little trick a therapist taught me when I was newly wed. It has served me well over the years.
Take a break.
Whether it’s your family or not, there might be some moments over the next few days when you need to just remove yourself from the crazy and take a break. Pray, sing, read, or rest. If you can, get out and walk around the neighborhood, perfect. If you can’t, just sneak out into an empty bedroom or the restroom if you must. . . and breathe.
Take 3 minutes or 30, but give yourself a little time out.
The best way to lower stress hormones is by slowing down your breathing and oxygenating your body. So if you’re not currently running a marathon and you notice your heart is racing, you need a slow deep breath. Actually, you probably need more than one. Get alone if you can, but you can do this at the table too.
Inhale. . . exhale.
Breathe in peace and release stress with each breath. You can create space for your mind and body to relax, no matter where you are. When you do, you’ll not only instantly have more peace, love and joy to share with the ones you love. You’ll also be opening your heart and mind to see all you have to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling today, staying in town, or already surrounded and needing a breather, you can care for yourself with something as simple as your breath.
Whether you’re digging “their kind of crazy” or not, you can do this holiday thing.
And you can do it with more peace and joy on the inside, slow breath after slow breath.
to more love,
Image by Landon Schneider Photography