Here it is half-way through November, and the holidays are quickly approaching. Have you made your plans?
I met with a client two weeks ago who was already anxious about the upcoming holidays. This will be her first Thanksgiving and Christmas since her loved one passed away, and she’s dreading the whole thing.
So, we strategized. I suggested first that she write down everything that could go wrong – everything she was dreading, and everything she was certain she wanted to avoid.
Then I had her write down the things that she was sure she wanted to do, and her “if-everything-goes-well-this-is-what-I’d-like-to-happen” list.
Then, we looked at the first list. We brainstormed about how she could prevent a lot of the potential disasters, how she could eliminate the major stress-causers, and about how she could let others know she wouldn’t be participating in the events that she knew would cause her pain or embarrassment.
We made a list of alternatives she could suggest to her family, and activities and events she felt comfortable trying this year.
We sketched out the next two months, and she wrote out her ‘ideal’ plan.
(Life is never ‘ideal’, but if we know what we’d like to happen it’s a lot more likely that something close to that could come to pass!)
Her assignment was to take it home and discuss it with her family. She gets final say, but she is willing to let the others give some input, too. Then, hopefully, she’ll enter this holiday season more prepared – and not feeling so out-of-control.
Do you know what you’d like your holidays to look like? I promise – thinking about it now is a whole lot better than ‘winging’ it, especially the first year. So pull out a sheet of paper – and make a plan!