Principle #5 – Live Your Life Bigger with Appreciation

The holidays are here again, and many of us may start to feel overwhelmed. Not only is there a turkey to cook, but also cookies to bake, decorations to put up, and gifts to buy and wrap. And there are life obligations that must be met. Yikes…how do we get it done? I’m right there with you. Give yourself some grace and take a little time to reflect on your blessings. And reframe your outlook from overwhelm to gratitude.

These past few weeks have been stressful, and my plate has gotten too full. I try to tackle one thing at a time, but it seems like one thing gets finished, and another three get added. When I feel overwhelmed, my mindset starts to suffer. It’s exhausting. But I’ve learned when I need to step back and re-evaluate what’s essential…now is that time.

“When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.” – Dana Arcuri, author, speaker, survivor, Certified Trauma Recovery Coach

When I start preparing for the holidays, I think about the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswold has invited all of his extended family members to stay with the Griswold’s for the holidays. The family gets a tree that is too big for their house, Clark decorates his house with too many lights, and family members argue with each other. But he’s determined to make Christmas the best ever. It’s a funny movie with a great message.

Many of us put extra pressure on ourselves to have the perfect holiday season for our families. We overcook and over-decorate. And we worry, will family members get along, are they vaccinated or not, and what can we say that won’t hurt anyone’s feelings? Having a conversation with your family about expectations of safety measures and what type of behavior is acceptable can be helpful. This will keep family members healthy and happy. Most family members will appreciate your honesty. And because many of us were separated last year, they just want to be together safely this year.

I’ve learned along the way to be realistic about what I am capable of doing. And that is “not everything.” In the past, I had a difficult time understanding that concept. It was hard to give up control and accept help. Now, I do what I can and ask for help when I need it.

Every evening, my husband and I talk about what we have on the schedule for the following day. When I start listing more than a few things, my husband always asks, how can I help… the best husband ever! This helps us both prioritize what needs to get done.

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” – Dr. Lisa Weed

COVID has touched every family in the world in one way or another. Different beliefs about the COVID vaccine have caused division in many families. This has made it hard to be together. With love, patience, and respectful conversations, many have chosen to protect themselves and their families.

My family has much to celebrate this year. We are vaccinated and can be together without masks! And our family is growing…my daughter and son-in-law are having a baby! We are all excited, healthy, and happy! I’m beyond grateful.

“The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.” – Oprah Winfrey

When you start to feel overwhelmed with the holidays, or life, pause, re-evaluate, and prioritize. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Ask for help when needed and don’t forget to take care of yourself. And remember, counting your blessing brings a greater appreciation for what’s important. A grateful heart…a happier you! Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Freedom is possible!


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