This Feel Good Effect Podcast episode is all about how to feel good effect the holidays.
Let’s make the holidays less about adding more to your list and getting things done and more about how you actually want to feel.
Bonus: We’ll talk about how to do a decision diet for gifting to take some of the stress out of this season.
Feel Good Effect the Holidays + a Decision Diet for Gifting
A lot of the ways we have approached holidays and this time of year in the past are not even an option right now.
There is a lot of disappointment and heartbreak around some of those traditions that we aren’t able to participate in this year, but on the other hand, it’s a pretty amazing opportunity to ask yourself what you want to keep and what you want to leave behind.
Additionally, if you are in the gifting spirit and looking to reduce decision fatigue we put together a decision diet gift guide for you.
Pause and pay attention
I invite you to take a pause and pay attention.
What would happen if the holiday season was not about adding more to your list?
The expectations, impossible standards, comparison, all or nothing thinking, and perfectionism (really, the striving mindset) is so pervasive when it comes to our actions and expectations around the holidays.
When we approach anything with the striving mindset, it sucks the joy right out.
Approaching the holidays with the striving mindset takes the intention away from how we want to feel, the purpose behind the season, behind the tradition, of being with family.
It flattens things that should bring us joy into a list of tasks.
A radical thing we can do right now? Reject that.
Instead of just adding more to your list for the sake of it, because you did it in the past, because other people are doing it, or because it’s what you think you should be doing, reframe it from a place of feeling good.
Be aware and intentional
The first step in building awareness is pausing and paying attention.
Regardless of the holiday(s) you might observe between now and the beginning of the next year, instead of asking what you have to do or starting a to-do list, ask yourself, how do I want to feel?.
Isn’t that such a different place to start from?
Then, you can go through your list and reflect on how much each task is associated with how you want to feel.
This pulls us out of the automatic and into the present to be more intentional.
What do I want this year? What do I need this year? What would help me feel good this year, particularly at this time when things are really challenging?
There are a lot of things that we don’t have control over.
Bringing it back to how we want to feel allows us to see that there actually are a lot of things that aren’t necessary or that are energy- or time-draining, ultimately not adding to how you want to feel.
From should to good
The second thing I want you to reflect on is what is a should and what is a good.
Should to good is this concept of reflecting on whether a certain thing you are planning to do for the holidays is a should or is a good.
It’s pretty easy to go through your to-do list and start seeing which items you are doing because you feel like you should.
Whether you feel you should because you used to in the past or because you see someone else doing it, flipping the script to how you want to feel, from should to good, will allow you to reclaim your experience, attention, and energy.
Should to good in my life
I made my own little list of things-to-do for the holidays this year, which includes categories of gift-giving, meals, decoration, holiday cards, finding a way to gather in a different way, service, and traditions.
So quickly, this season that is supposed to be full of light, joy, and hope, adds up in tasks from all these categories.
If you are just trying to survive life right now in the era we are in, adding this whole new list of tasks is a lot.
I am always amazed at how little credit we give ourselves for tackling this whole new set of tasks on top of what we’ve been doing already.
And when we can’t do it or we fall short, we beat ourselves up as if we’re not efficient enough or disciplined enough.
We are somewhat limited in what we can do this year, so it benefits us to take things off of our lists, but we’re losing joy from those events and activities.
When we’re asking how we want to feel, reflect on how we can replace some of that lost connection or joy with opportunities that exist in the constraints that we have.
Leaving behind the shoulds and keeping the joy
How can we leave behind some of those tasks that were never related to how we wanted to feel, that was always a should, but retain some of the joy of the season?
I go through each of the categories and reflect on what is related to how I want to feel and what is really just a should.
For example, I love holiday cards and I send one each year not because I feel like I should, but because I enjoy it and it feels really good to me.
However, we weren’t able to do professional photos in the way we usually do each year, so instead, I am using a premade template online and uploading some of my favorite candid shots that I took on my phone over the last year.
It’s one way I can take a should and turn it into a good.
But if cards aren’t something you even enjoy, take it off of your list because it’s not necessary.
Other things I am doing to make shoulds goods
- Instead of cooking a big Thanksgiving meal, I am ordering premade food from my favorite natural foods store. When I pause and pay attention, I can see that the good for me is gathering around the table with my family. The good isn’t me making food for two days, so I was able to outsource that.
- Decorations aren’t a huge thing for me. I have a minimal set of decorations that I set up after Thanksgiving and the good is watching holiday movies with a holiday drink of some kind. It’s not a magical tablescape that I can post on Instagram.
- With lights, we don’t go big or go home. A few lights bring a simple joy without a lot of work.
Decision diet for the holidays
You can apply this same framework of how do I want to feel, should to good, when it comes to the unique circumstances of the holiday season this year.
Can I find some new ways to infuse joy? To inject good without adding more to my plate?
Something I have worked out over the years and apply here is a decision diet, or decision template.
This is part of my approach in The Feel Good Effect book, which would make a great gift!
The idea of a decision diet is to decide ahead of time and create a template so that you are not spending so much energy making decisions and burning out with decision fatigue.
1 | Decide who is getting a gift and who is not.
This is a huge opportunity to practice should to good.
For us, we decided to not focus on the adults in the family and instead just focus on the kids.
2 | Give yourself some constraints.
For the adults in my life who are getting a gift, I decided on constraints ahead of time on getting them a book and a drink.
These templates are so freeing because I don’t have to shop every website and look for every sale, I just have to find a book and a drink that each person will like.
However, if your love language is gifting, then maybe this isn’t a good fit for you.
Ground yourself in the feeling good
This approach is grounded in the feel good effect
You don’t have to strive. This doesn’t have to be about impossible standards, all or nothing, or comparison. You can reframe and reclaim anything in your life.
Right now, in the holiday season, ground yourself in how you want to feel and flip the should to good.
You don’t have to add more to your list to get results.
Permission to do it your way.
Permission to customize everything.
other feel good effect episodes you’ll love
How to Go on a Decision Diet for More Mental Energy & Willpower
How to Avoid the Holiday Downward Spiral & Cultivate an Intentional Season Instead
How to Design Gatherings That Matter, with Priya Parker.
The Secret to Consistency with Wellness