Recently a man furiously flung his car door open to block my car from moving as I tried to maneuver past his car in a Costco parking lot.
He stormed angrily towards my car as I hastened to lock the doors, and proceeded to bang violently on my car window yelling “Roll your window down!! Roll your window down!!”
My wide-eyed 5 year old sat in the back seat, confused, and scared.
This man's emotions were high.
He was angry and agitated.
Ready to pick a fight with a woman and her small child.
Of course my fiery Italian self yelled back in mama-bear tones.
He finally got back in his car and drove off.
Heightened emotional states like these are commonplace this time of year.
I’m not immune, and likely neither are you.
People are stressed.
Stressed about overspending.
Stressed about overeating and overdrinking.
Stressed about family relationships and interactions.
But wait, isn’t the holiday season supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”?
Stress is, by definition, a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Do the holidays qualify as “adverse or very demanding circumstances”??
No, they don’t… unless your thinking that you have to spend a bunch of money, eat a bunch of food, drink a bunch of booze, entertain people you really don’t like, and shop till you drop (literally) when you really just want to be cozy by the fire in your jammies with a cup of tea and a good book.
This kind of stress is self-created.
If you’re anything like most people, you respond to stress by overeating and overdrinking-- not to mention overspending and overcommitting.
In short, you create this stress by thinking you have to do all of these things in order to have the experience you want over the holidays, but you end up with a result you don’t want: tight pants, maxed out credit cards, and empty bank accounts.
The solution to self-created stress is to stop creating it.
First, you have to change the way you are thinking about how you create the experience you want.
For example, if you are telling yourself that you “have to” buy all this stuff, eat all this stuff, bake all this stuff, do all this stuff, etc. then you’ll feel obligated, overwhelmed, overcommitted, overspent, and overweight.
I’m guessing those are not the feelings you are trying to create this holiday season.
Here are two questions to ask yourself in order to stress less.
After you’ve found the feelings you are after, use that information to answer the following questions.
The essential thing to remember is that the holidays can be about whatever you want them to be: overeating, overdrinking, overspending, overstressing...
Or, they can be about connection, reflection, intention, generosity, gratitude, and restoration.
You don’t have to do anything.
You get to choose.
Set your intention for the holiday and then allow it to be exactly what you want it to be, now, and in January.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.