Am I off my rocker to think that the holidays used to be a time when the hustle and bustle of everyday life slowed to a crawl? Don’t get me wrong — Christmas is still a joyous time of the year, and we all look forward to spending it with the people we love. But our world today seems like it is moving faster and faster, and more often than not, holiday life is just as hectic and chaotic as the rest of the year.
As a result, the anxiety and rush of life make us feel like we can’t afford to slow down and enjoy the season.
Being “in the moment” rather than getting caught up in everyday circumstances becomes impossible to manage.
Instead of feeling a sense of calm, we hurry. We worry.
So, how can we make it so that we can enjoy this holiday season? We need to recognize that making the holidays better isn’t about changing our circumstances (work, school, politics, technology, the car breaking down, etc.). Our circumstances and even the fast-paced nature of life will continue regardless of whether it’s Christmas or not. But how we think and behave when faced with these circumstances will help us take back a sense of self-control!
We can manage our emotions. We choose how we behave! All we need is resiliency and flexibility to adapt to change.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 6:22
What are Resilience & Flexibility?
Resilience is the ability to quickly recover (bounce back) from difficulties — adapting in the face of adversity or significant sources of stress. Take a playoff baseball game, for example. A resilient team will find a way to overcome a 4-0 hole with five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. We can do the same thing in everyday life. This can include being resilient in the face of family and relational difficulties, financial stressors, troubles with the boss at work, etc.
Much like resilience, flexibility is our ability to bend without breaking. It’s also our willingness to change or compromise.
So what do resilience and flexibility mean with the holidays and enjoying the moments that matter most rather than being stressed out by how fast everything is moving?
- First, you need to understand the situations or circumstances you find yourself in — Do you feel like you’re in control of those circumstances? Although we create some of our own situations for ourselves, we do not control them most of the time. Believe it or not, we do have choices we can make in these situations. What choice will you make?
- Next, realize that how you think about your situation determines your emotions and leads to choosing appropriate behaviors. Here are two examples of what I mean by that?
Resilience & Flexibility Examples
A man’s car breaks down. He immediately thinks of all the bad things that will happen, such as being late to work and then having to work late. Naturally, this will keep him from getting the presents he needs for the Christmas party. He ends up saying ugly words to the tow truck driver, then flies off the handle at the car dealership. He puts himself in such a horrible mood that when he does get to the party, he can’t even enjoy it.
Conversely, another man faced with the same situation thinks to himself, “Well, there’s nothing I can do about this. So I’m going to make the best of it. I’ll call the tow truck. I’ll call the dealership. I’ll see how fast they can help, and maybe I’ll rent a car.” Even though he’s frustrated, he doesn’t let the circumstances change his mood or ruin his day.
So again … even though we don’t control our circumstances, we can choose how we will think about, react, and respond to them. We can manage our emotions and choose productive and positive behaviors.
Doing so might just make your holidays a lot more fun!
All we are saying here is that things are going to happen. You can bet on it — even during the holidays. But we have more power over how we choose to react than we give ourselves credit for. And being mindful of that can bring us a whole lot more joy this holiday season.
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Did we leave anything out? How are you planning to be more resilient and flexible this holiday season? Do you have any examples to share about how you overcame a stressful situation? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going at Mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.