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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ahh - the Holidays -- Shift Your Attention to what you love about them!

Wow -- I look at days like today and say "I am SO grateful for my health and my healing". A year ago I could not have done even 1/100th of what I did today. My father and step-mom come tomorrow and stay a few days so I am doing the last minute shopping, clean up, cooking prep, wrapping, etc. I was a bit stressed earlier in the week and saw it effect my energy level and even felt some old aches wanting to manifest. Luckily I read Edward Mill's post "The Holiday Anti-Stress Guide -- 19 Tips For a Relaxing Holiday Season". It really helped me to look at where my attention was going and gave me some GREAT tips on what needed work.

I began to shift my attention and focus on the GOOD stuff about the holidays and what I look forward to. I made my lists, let myself off the hook about some of the endless things along with work that needed to be done, delegated some tasks so my husband and kids could help me and started to think about what I LOVE about the holidays. I was swamped and my lists were long but I knew if I did not get some mental health time I would only sink lower. I called my good friend Angela and invited her over and after an hour of talking and hanging out was completely renewed. I've mentioned before the importance of good friends and there really is no way to say how much my friends mean to me.

I made a comment on the above Evolving Times article about one of my favorite holiday traditions. Every year I write out cards for my mother, father and Ray (my husband). Sometimes they include poems specifically for the person. Other times they are a recap of the year and how I am grateful for that person. This is something I REALLY look forward to every year and I know means a lot to my family.
I was being hard on myself because I had not written on my computer blog in a long while and thought, "time to shift my attention and figure out a way to get this done AND have fun instead of looking at is as work". I previewed a few and found age appropriate ones. I then asked my son Alex, 8 to HELP me play some holiday games so I could test and review them and we had a lot of fun together. I don't get much one on one time with Alex during the school year that doesn't involve studying and it was great to have him help with "mommy's work". We laughed, talked about the games and I had the most fun I have ever had "working" on a post. This picture is of me, my father and Alex 2 Christmas's ago.

Shifting attention is one of the methods I highlight in my e-book that helped me to heal. There is POWER in shifting your attention to what IS good instead of concentrating on what is not working or what is causing you stress. I used this when I was very ill and could only find about an inch of my body that wasn't screaming in pain. To concentrate on the one pain-free part and feel gratitude INSTEAD of concentrating on all the painful parts CHANGED the way my body was perceiving pain.

If you are stressed about the holidays and money, scheduling, gift choosing, store lines, endless get-togethers -- try and think about the GOOD stuff that makes you happy during the holidays. Is there a relative or friend you love seeing that you will see around this time? How can you let the ones you love KNOW how special they are? (You needn't spend a dime on this - a note works wonders). Do you have any Holiday songs you look forward to hearing every year? Yes, even "Dominick and Donkey" and "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" count! Do you have a holiday treat or meal you look forward to? Do you have one holiday tradition that always makes you smile?

Shifting attention and concentrating on the meaning of Christmas and the holidays versus how much it takes to get them together will help you to feel good, reduce stress and actually get you in the holiday spirit! In my last post I wrote about staying healthy during the holiday season. To BE happy and FEEL the joy of the holidays goes even one step further to ensuring your health, emotional and physical, during what is called the most stressful time of the year. I highly recommend reading Edwards Mill's post on the holidays and focusing on all the good and joy surrounding the holidays. I wish everyone all the best and make sure to treat yourself well and give yourself some rest during these busy times!


Stacie said...

Some good ideas Jenny! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a great new year!

Jenny Mannion said...

Hey Stacie, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wish you a VERY Merry Christmas as well. I look forward to seeing you MORE in 2008!
Give a hug to Levi! Love, Jenny

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