These days are kinda weird. It’s also the toughest for many people. Some people over-commit to family, friends, volunteer tasks and find themselves over scheduled and unable to actually enjoy the season. Some of us dread the inevitable, obligatory socializing and the pressure of being ‘on’. Well now you may feel like making more commitments. Some of us are grieving.
Just because you’ve always gone to the bar to catch up everyday, doesn’t mean you always have to. You can stop going.
Say, “I’m starting a new tradition this month, I’m really looking forward to cooking with my kids and having a quiet family night.” Then set up a time to visit Aunt Sue when you’ll actually be able to visit her, instead of just a quick in and out visit that consists of you constantly watching the clock.
When I hear people complain about all the ‘stuff’ they have to do, I usually say, “Dude. Stop doing it.” The typical reply is, “Oh, but I really like having 37 different types of cookies and seeing all my 3rd cousins!” Cool. I can respect that. But stop looking at (and speaking of) the tasks and events like chores.
This isn’t a martyr contest. Nobody gives a darn that Betty SUV Soccer Mom makes her bundt cake from scratch and you use a mix. Except Betty, and that’s her issue. Do stuff because you want to, because it brings you joy...hopefully that includes some high quality time with your family. And quit doing the stuff you don’t want to do.
Stick with the people who warm your soul
Some of us are not close with our families. For many, many people, family relationships are rarely nourishing and often painful. We’ve built friendships that stand in for the sibling and parental relationships that will simply never be fulfilling.
If you feel really attached to giving a tangible object, can you simplify the process? Find one universal gift, and give it to all your people. A jar of local honey from you favorite apiary, a pack of Oreos.
Rethink your assumptions
Just because you’ve always done things a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing that. It’s all a choice. Sometimes you don’t even need to change the pattern, just recognizing that it’s a choice is enough. So, knock it out of the park! Go enjoy your people and yourself while the quarantine is forcing us to do so.