The holidays are just around the corner along with shopping excursions and family get-togethers. Don’t you love them? The relatives who squeeze your cheeks, no matter how old you get, asking us dreaded questions like: “How’s school going?” “Are you dating anyone?” “Did you get into that school?” “What are you going to do with your life?” These kind of questions are bad enough throughout the year (especially when you don’t know the answers), but they become even more annoying when we are trapped in our homes for the holidays with no escape from the inquisition! This time of year, individuals tend to push our buttons a little more than normal; almost to the point of near emotional explosion.
The holidays are stressful for everyone but students tend to get more even overwhelmed with mid-terms, finals, and other projects that will bring the current semester to a close and allow you to enjoy a few weeks of non-schoolwork relaxation. Once that’s done, you have to brave the malls and shopping centers and deal with people who never really seem to be in the holiday spirit, which in turn, darkens what was left of your own cheeriness.
One of the most important virtues we can practice this time of year is acceptance- and not just of gifts! With the hustle and bustle of the holidays we tend to take things more personally and react towards people and situations. So, this season when Aunt Sally pinches your cheeks, accept that it is her way of showing her love and don’t let it bother you as much as you think it does. At the family holiday party when you get inundated with those questions, accept that your family cares and is interested in what’s going on in your life. Even acknowledge that you probably feel loved when they ask about you. And when that guy in the parking garage takes the spot you were waiting for or the woman at the mall gives you the evil eye for asking if that sweater is on sale, smile, wish them happy holidays, and just accept that they might just be having a bad day. Don’t let anyone Scrooge out your holiday spirit!
Remember, accepting people for who they are, quirks and all, will make the holidays less stressful and easier to enjoy even if your cheeks are a little sore.
~ Christine Hassler