The Pressures of the Holidays

A lot of people this year are experiencing economic difficulties that can lead to feelings of hopelessness. People with health challenges often lack the energy to get involved in holiday festivities. Can you make the holidays more enjoyable?

Yes. In the same way that there’s no limit to the quality of your day, there’s also no limit to the quality of the holidays. The paradox, however, is that improving your own holiday involves serving others. As I wrote in CalmUp® Journey: Your Daily Ascending Tool for Better Days, true self-help is really about “other-help.”

That’s easy to say and much harder to do, especially around the holidays. With the end of the year, you may be working on accomplishing tasks, not to mention heading out to buy gifts. In looking more closely at my own pressures this holiday season, I realize my son and I have been quarreling over asking each other to do stuff for one another. “When you empty the dryer of your clothes, would you mind throwing in the load that’s in the washing machine?” “Mom, can you come outside and give me a hand with the ladder?”

Such simple requests would normally not be a big deal. However, throw in the pressures of the holidays, the endless tasks on your to-do list, and wanting your requests attended to immediately, and those little tasks seem impossible. How do you move from Scrooge to contributor when you’re lost in the pressure? The problem with “other-help” is that when you engage in such behavior at your own expense, you end up feeling resentful and depleted. On the other hand, as you become more genuine with yourself, you find that you have more energy to want to help others.

Acknowledge your pressures along the CalmUp® Journey and rediscover the joys of the holiday season as you reclaim your essential self. Determine how to be empowered today and also how to share and serve. There’s no guarantee that you’ll become a better parent or even a better friend. You will, however, have the opportunity to consciously choose your attitude for the day (and holiday) and what’s meaningful for you and your life.


1. When someone asks you to do “one more thing” for him or her this holiday season, how could you respond in a way that won’t cause either of you to feel resentful?

2. What one activity can you schedule this holiday season to move from Scrooge to contributor?

3. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, have you considered the gift of CalmUp® Journey and CalmUp® Journey Pages for yourself or a loved one?