Have a Merry Christmas

   Written by on December 22, 2016 at 11:05 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Is the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation part of your holiday traditions?  At our house it is.  Every year we watch the comical results of Clark Griswold’s unachievable expectations of creating the perfect family Christmas.  We also enjoy watching Steven Finch in Deck the Halls.  Following Clark Griswold’s pattern of controlling the activities of Christmas, Steven has the goal of ensuring a perfect family Christmas.  Both movies end with Clark and Steven realizing that what matters is building a relationship with your family, not controlling the events.

So, here are few suggestions for you to consider on how to slow down and enjoy the people around you this Christmas season.

Did you know your sense of smell can shape your mood?  Kyoto University in Japan found pine scent drastically reduces depression and anxiety.  As you work through your to-do list, light a pine candle, sit down and breathe.  Relax and let your mood transform to a calmer state.

Reduce your anxiety by counting your blessings.  David Kessler and Elisabeth Kubler Ross hold that when you express gratitude, you find your true power.  Giving thanks for all you have this Christmas moves your focus from the things you can’t control and to the blessings and gifts you already possess.

Smile.  It makes you and everyone around you feel better.  Smile!  Really?  This is the big idea?  You bet it is.  Are you smiling yet?  Smiling is contagious, immediately lightens your heart, and releases tension.  Remember; a cheerful look brings joy to the heart!  (Proverbs 15:30).  And, it’s free.

Schedule quiet time.  Pick a few moments each day to notice the world around you!  Take time to unwind.  Try a brisk walk in the woods.  Enjoy the fresh air, nature’s beauty, and the exercise.  Follow Dr. Seuss’ advice, “You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”  The activities of any holiday can cause you to feel overwhelmed; when that happens, bundle up and take a walk outside.    Breathing in the fresh air, taking in nature’s beauty, and the simple act of exercise can do wonders to help you relax.  You’re not an outdoors person.  Find what works for you; such as a cup of hot chocolate with those little marshmallows or listening to your favorite tune.  Learn what helps you clear your mind.  Then when you need a break, take a few minutes and do what works best for you.

Simplify and manage your expectations.  Resetting our expectations can help us experience true joy.  With all the church gatherings, school celebrations, work parties, and other events on the calendar, who has time to make decorations or a dish that is worthy of Pinterest?

Ask for help.  Asking for help is not showing weakness nor admitting defeat.  In actuality, asking for help is a sign of great strength.  Are you part of the group that thinks they should know all, see all, and be able to do all…on their own?  If that were true, wouldn’t we all be exactly alike?  God made us unique individuals; each of us with differing gifts and talents.  He did this intentionally so that we would need to be in relationship with each other.  Your strength comes from knowing who you are; your strengths and your limitations.

What causes you to get frustrated or impatient?  For me, it is usually because something is not happening soon enough or not playing out the way I think it should.  Is this you?  Now, what does being impatient get us other than a level of ever-increasing frustration and negative emotions?  Faith and trust that everything is going to work out is the key to patience.  This Christmas, when you are rushing out the door or getting upset because a family member is making you late, take a moment and say, “Being impatient will only complicate things, I can’t fix everything, and it will be good enough.”   

Have a Merry Christmas!

 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Isaiah 55:12

Call us with your feedback, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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