We are neck deep in last-minute holiday madness! Traffic is catawampus, and the stores
are loud and overly crowded. I am noticing and experiencing a real hustle and bustle to get things done for the upcoming Christmas holiday, but for many of us, holidays can represent added stress and perhaps anxiety.
How about flipping the holiday coin, so to speak, and leaning into the recovery work you’ve been doing around stress and anxiety? Try taking a look at this holiday as an opportune time to work with your discomfort and begin to hold some internal space for it. You may begin to notice some of the other amazing things that occur during this time of year: joy, friendship, abundance, and generosity, community and togetherness.
Here are some thoughts on how to do this while also taking care of yourself at the same time:
Self-care: You need to care for yourself first before you can care for others. You can’t do anything effectively if you are pulling from an empty well. So, what does that self-care look like for you?
Be of service: Do one random act of kindness every day (more if you are inspired).
1. Buy a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks.
2. Buy a homeless person a meal.
3. Help someone with their groceries at the market.
4. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
5. Offer to help an elderly neighbor or with their groceries.
6. Take a commitment at a meeting. The greeter commitment is a favorite because you get to meet new people.
Be kind (to yourself and to others), even when you don’t want to.
Practice compassion. “Sympathetic concern for the sufferings and/or misfortunes of others.” There’s a difference between pity and concern: Compassion isn’t a way to feel sorry for someone. It’s an opportunity to show care and kindness to the suffering of others.
These small acts of kindness and service during the holidays may actually decrease our focus on stress and anxiety created around the holiday itself. Acts of kindness and compassion facilitate connection with others and allow us to let go of some of that stress and anxiety we are holding onto. Connected action allows us to reconnect with the roots of what the holiday is really about: community, love, and togetherness. Ironically, all that running around to get last-minute items actually makes us disconnected.
So, I leave you with this: a video of two 16-year-olds engaging in random acts of kindness. They dress up as superheroes, wearing tights and capes, and running around paying for people’s food, giving tips to waitresses without even ordering, helping people out when they see they’re struggling to pay for something, and feeding a homeless guy. What can you do this holiday season to practice random acts of kindness? You don’t need a cape and tights, just some willingness to be kind.