120. How to Simplify the Holidays for a More Peaceful Season

by | Nov 3, 2022

We all have holiday ideals of lazy afternoons stringing popcorn with our kids, cozying up by the fire with a feel good classic, and wrapping beautifully styled presents while your favorite holiday music plays in the background.

How does that dream turn into freezing your toes off in your fancy shoes for your spouses holiday party you don’t even want to attend, wrapping presents until 2am and waking up to be the Grinch, and wearing yourself out baking and cooking food that doesn’t even make you feel good all in the name of tradition?

This week’s podcast episode is all about how to simplify your holidays to create more of your ideal life over the next couple months.

Join me inside this episode as I share ways I’ve cut back on the hustle and bustle of the season to actually enjoy yourself.

Enjoy! Janeen

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[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, hey there. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I am Janeen Alley and today we are talking about how to simplify the holidays for a more peaceful season regardless of what you celebrate. So I think we all want to feel more peace during the holidays, and so often the things that we are doing take us away from the connection and the love and the peace that we want to feel during this time of year.

[00:00:29] But despite our best intentions, when we get into the thick of it, when we get into the day-to-day things that we’re doing, we end up saying yes to too many people, too many things, too much food, all the things , right? So today I’m gonna be sharing five examples of ways that I simplify my life during the holidays.

[00:00:48] Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list. This is just to help you get the ideas flowing for you. And to start to question why you are doing the things that you’re doing [00:01:00] during this time of year. I think sometimes we just go along with things because that’s the way it’s always been done.

[00:01:05] But I want you to question all of it. So the first thing that I want you to do is to create a vision for how you want your holiday season to look.

[00:01:16] So do you want your holidays to be peaceful? Do you want them to be calm? Do you want to feel confident that the choices you’re making are the best for you and your family? Would you like to feel free from guilt? Do you want to feel generous? There’s so many different things that we can feel, but I want you to start by identifying two or three main emotions that you want to redirect yourself during the holidays as you’re making decisions, and I want you to also clarify your priorities.

[00:01:45] I want you to intentionally simplify and eliminate things that are on your schedule to match the vision that you have of the next couple months that are coming up. I also want you to be honest and realistic about your limitations. So [00:02:00] let me give you an example of this. So back in 2021, the very beginning of 2021, I got covid. And I have had some long term symptoms from that virus that are concussion like symptoms. And so last year I didn’t realize how much the dark and the light contrast of the, the darkness being outside and then the Christmas lights, that contrast coming through my eyes and being received in my brain was going to affect the way that I showed up. And I would get these really bad headaches and I would have to close my eyes and I would have to minimize the stimulation I was receiving through all of my senses when this was going on.

[00:02:40] The holidays can be a very sensory oriented experience for us, right? With the different music and the lights and the ways that we celebrate the season. So I want you to be really honest about what your specific limitations are, what you can take on, what your preferences are, what you’re going to [00:03:00] make exceptions for, and I want to all be really intentional.

[00:03:03] Okay? So I want you maybe you pause the podcast for a moment and just intentionally think about how you wanna feel during the holidays, what your priorities are, and what your limitations are during this season. So that’s the first step.

[00:03:17] Okay? The second step is I am going to share some examples and I want you to just be thinking about some of the ideas that are coming to your mind about how you can simplify your holidays while I’m sharing some of these things. And it might be along the same lines, it might be something totally different.

[00:03:31] That’s okay. I just want you to be kind of jotting things down and taking notes either mentally or maybe even on a piece of paper , so that you are you are able to execute on your plan over the next couple of months. Okay, so the first thing that I have done is I have let go of guilt. So growing up I didn’t have a lot of traditions in my family, but my husband’s side of the family did a lot of stuff as [00:04:00] far as traditions go. And I have some memories, some really fun memories of doing certain things as a child. And I know for myself And for a lot of you as well, we want to have those experiences, those kinds of warm, fuzzy experiences for our kids that involve time baking or crafting or being together doing certain things.

[00:04:22] And I know we all have sentimental value in different areas, but I want you to start to question all of the things. I am not a particularly sentimental person about things, but my husband really is. So either way, wherever you find yourself on the sentimental spectrum, I want you to be intentional with what you choose to carry forward.

[00:04:44] Maybe if your family did 10 traditions, maybe you’re just choosing three or five this year, and not just doing things because that’s the way it’s always been done. I think sometimes when we stop and think, we realize we actually don’t even like doing the tradition or [00:05:00] would rather do something else, and it’s totally okay to let things go. I want you to do things that align with who you are, the dynamics of your family, the kids that you have, the community that you live in and the values that you have right now. So I spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that I want to do with my family. And for me, relationships are so important.

[00:05:25] Spending time together is so important and I have let go of the pressure of having it be the same every single year because the truth is, is the dynamics of my family shift and the the things that people prefer are always changing. So kids might not be as interested in doing the things that I did as a kid, or even the things that they did as a kid just a couple years ago, and that’s okay. As I’ve learned more about health, I have intentionally let go of traditions that have involved food.

[00:05:56] Thinking about things from my past that have been sweet and, for me, [00:06:00] that have been addicting I didn’t want to unknowingly pass along a tradition of bad health to my kids. Now I know that’s all subjective, but I want you thinking about that and I want you making choices intentionally. So for me, I wanted to shift my focus away from all the food that we culturally have a tradition around. To experiences and doing good out in my community. So those are shifts that I’ve made intentionally, and I think sometimes there’s a lot of guilt that goes into making those shifts. But remember, my friend, guilt is optional.

[00:06:35] So you don’t have to feel guilty about letting go of things. You want to come at these choices from a place of empowerment and make choices on purpose about how you want to move forward in your life. And you can, 100%, feel good about those things. Okay. The next suggestion that I have for you is to divide and conquer. If traditionally you have felt obligated to show up to [00:07:00] every little thing, you have multiple kids, there’s multiple concerts, there’s multiple end of year events, I want you to think about being intentional and take a look at your calendar and come back to what it is that you really want, those emotions that you thought of just a minute ago about how you want to feel during the holidays and make decisions again from that place. So one of the things that I love to do is I love to divide and conquer. So there are some things that we show up at together, my husband and I, as well as our kids, and there are other things that only one of us goes to, and that is totally fine.

[00:07:33] I want you to remember, you don’t have to do anything. And you definitely don’t have to do everything. Be mindful of why you’re saying yes to things and be onto to yourself if you’re saying yes from a place of obligation and guilt, because those two emotions can feel pretty bad.

[00:07:49] You can still show up, but let it be from a place of love and support and intention. Okay. So the third way that I simplify things is with [00:08:00] my decorating. I’m not much of a decorator in the first place, so full disclosure, , I am very interested in my space, but I love more of a minimal approach to decor in general.

[00:08:11] Because it’s easy. It’s easy to put out, it’s easy to put away. It’s easy to clean and dust and all of those things. And Christmas is no different, so call me the Grinch. But if it were up to me, I’d only have a three foot tall tree with one string of lights and I’d be good to go. Like not even one ornament, you guys just tree and lights and I’m done. I have a couple kids and a husband that like to decorate a lot more than I do.

[00:08:39] In fact, just the other day, my daughter was talking about getting the lights out already for Christmas, and I am somebody who likes to set things out and then tuck them away in a fairly short window of time. So I have two Christmas storage totes just to kind of give you an idea, including tree ornaments.

[00:08:57] I have saved a few Christmas things that I picked up [00:09:00] in the time that we lived overseas. I like to keep things very simple, like I mentioned., But if you like to decorate, and I have several friends who love to decorate, that’s great. But be mindful of why you’re doing it. How do you feel when you’re decorating? Is it something that is energizing for you? Does it help you set the mood for the holiday season? Is it in alignment with you and what you ultimately want and those emotions that you were thinking about when we started this episode?

[00:09:26] But for me, I just know that decorating is draining. Less is definitely more for me, so I tend to gravitate towards that intentionally during the holiday time. So be mindful of what the tradeoffs are for you. If you spend time decorating, what are you not doing? What is not happening in your life? Is that okay with you?

[00:09:48] And for me, I know if I spend a lot of time decorating, my trade off is peace. I am not feeling peace during the holiday time because I’m so busy doing something I don’t really enjoy doing. So I [00:10:00] want you to be thinking about what it is for you. I’m not saying that decorating in and of itself is bad, or it’s wrong, or it’s not the right way for you to be spending your time.

[00:10:08] All of those decisions are totally up to you. I just want you to be clear on why you’re doing it and what those answers are for you, about how much you wanna be doing and taking on during the holiday time. Okay. The fourth thing that I love to do to help me simplify my holiday season, and actually this is something that I have always done with my husband. So we keep gifts really simple, and we always have.

[00:10:33] We were married in college. In fact, our oldest son, Thomas, was born the first week of dental school and I made the choice to stay home with my kids when they were really little. So we lived off of student loans and for the first seven years of our marriage we were in school and finances were really tight.

[00:10:48] So from the very beginning, we have only done two gifts for our kids, and I love the simplicity of doing gifts that way. This has really helped me to focus [00:11:00] on why I celebrate this season, and all of the other good things that come along with the things that I choose to celebrate and the things that I choose to focus on. Like serving others and doing good, spending time together with my loved ones,

[00:11:13] the music of the season, In all of its forms. There’s some really sacred holiday music. We also participate in some goofy things, so we just love to get together and to carol and to sing and all of those things. We love having friends over, so there’s so many other things that I love to put my time and attention into besides giving gifts.

[00:11:34] So like I mentioned, our kids get two presents each. And I know not everybody does Santa, but we do one gift from us and one present from Santa Claus and then they also get a few small things in their Christmas stockings. So full disclosure. Out of the five Love languages, it’s probably not gonna surprise you after that little explanation that Gift Giving is the bottom of my list, and it is also for Merrill, so that [00:12:00] works out really, really well. So my, my first love language is Time, and the second one that I have, it’s a pretty close second, is acts of service.

[00:12:09] So if you’re unfamiliar with the Five Love Languages, time and acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and gift giving are all the five languages of love, and I would say that I probably circulate between the other four. but gift giving never rises above last place . So, so there you have it. So just to put that into context, when you’re applying this into your life, you might feel like gift giving is your love language.

[00:12:37] And so by all means, that is gonna be where you put your time and energy. But just know that if that’s where you’re putting your time and energy, you wanna be clear on what you’re going to say no to. So that is more of a highlight for you during this time of year Okay. The last thing that I wanna say here is

[00:12:54] I love to focus on doing good in my community. This is where I love to focus my time and [00:13:00] energy during the holidays. But I have to intentionally reign myself in. There are simple ways that I love to do this. It does not have to be big. It does not have to be showy by any means.

[00:13:10] So I love, for example, crafting special yoga sequences for my students during the holidays. We might do a specific sequence on giving thanks or on on the light of the season. We also might do a warming sequence or even a yoga nidra in class. And then we love to do a really big kind of secret service project as a family for our community. We get dressed up in some commando gear and we make it really fun and goofy, and we love to surprise people with some acts of service in our community. And we’ve done that since our kids were really little.

[00:13:46] So it’s not, it’s not super elaborate, but I want you to think about it. If someone does something nice for you, just the act that someone was thinking about you usually makes your day right? So being able to do that for someone else [00:14:00] is going to be really special.

[00:14:03] It’s so important to decide ahead of time how you want to feel. So I’m kind of taking you back up to the beginning of the podcast. Stressing yourself out because you’re doing so many good things during the holidays for me, just isn’t worth it, even though I love to do that kind of thing.

[00:14:19] So with my background, again, you guys know I’ve been there, I’ve been stressed, I’ve been overwhelmed. I’ve sacrificed myself to do things and I’ve ruined my health and I have almost ruined my relationships in the process of doing that. It’s just not worth it. It wasn’t pretty.

[00:14:37] And so I make sure that, especially during the holidays, knowing what my limitations are, knowing what my preferences are, knowing ahead of time how I want to show up in my life during the next several months is really important to me. So I just wanted to share this with you.

[00:14:53] Hopefully this will get the wheels turning for you in your mind of how you want to show up over the next couple of months.[00:15:00]

[00:15:00] The last thing that I wanna share with you guys is I have a couple one on one coaching spots available right now. So the way that it works when we work together is we work together for six whole months.

[00:15:12] So we’re gonna be working through the holidays. That might sound super appealing to some of you. It also might sound pretty scary. , you’re like, Actually, I’ll just wait until later. I recommend working through the holidays for sure with a coach if you feel like you have a tendency to overbook or to overeat or to overdo.

[00:15:30] As a life coach, I can help you do anything and I specialize, of course, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a little while in productivity and wellness. So if you want help losing weight or you want help overeating or you want help feeling better or just becoming more peacefully productive, I can totally help you with that.

[00:15:47] And it’s tailored to you. Whatever it is, our coaching is tailored towards you and where you’re at on your journey. It’s amazing. So if you want one of those spots, I recommend that you book a call. That’s how you get in touch [00:16:00] with me. So head over to janeenalley.com/programs, and my one-on-one booking link is on that page.

[00:16:07] Just scroll down to the bottom until you see the Ascend one-on-one coaching information right there and just book a call with me and I will be super excited to chat with you. All right, my friends. I hope you have a beautiful rest of your week.

[00:16:21] Be thinking about those things, be thinking about those emotions, the intentional way that you wanna show up over the holidays and plan your life from your higher self. All right, y’all have a great week and we’ll talk to you soon. See ya. Bye.

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