The Grinch Who Stole Time for Herself This Christmas

In this season of “giving” it’s important we also take time to give back to ourselves by cutting out some of the “should statements” we place on ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, there is a special kind of feeling you get when people open a gift you carefully selected for them and they adore it. It’s also a great feeling receiving a gift that aligns beautifully with your values – for example I prefer experiences over material gifts, such as travel voucher, yoga classes etc. But with this season often also comes the feelings of obligation, overfeeding, and overspending, not to mention the clutter that can come from receiving gifts, particularly if you have kids!

Now maybe you’re thinking, “geez this girl is a Grinch!”. Well no, that would be my boss Alex. She went and had an early Christmas this year with her family so that she would be able to have some quality down time (haha good joke if you know Alex!) this holiday season. She used the term “change managing” her family to eliminate unnecessary obligation, and to be honest I think she is a genius!

Alex the grinch 2 min

Alex our resident Grinch cracking down on holiday cheer (poor Breanna just wanted her raindeer lollies)

The funny part is that for me, Christmas is actually one of my favourite times of the year. I love it all, the food, the family, the gifts, the lights. I’m that person who is usually chomping at the bit to get the tree up come December 1st (to the groans of my untraditional partner), and the one who is super excited to take part in Secret Santa. But this year is the second year in a row that I am working Christmas day (living the second job in hospitality life). Maybe I’m just getting old, or maybe Alex’s Grinch-ness is rubbing off on me, but I find myself almost relived that this year it will only be myself and my partner that I have to worry about for Christmas day.

This is not because I don’t want to see my family, or my partner’s family, or our friends. It’s not because I am money hungry (though hello Japan trip money!), or jaded by the commercialisation of this festive season (nope, not touching on that today!). It’s because by choosing to work, I’m choosing to eliminate some major “should” statements that usually set me at war with myself this time of year.

Let me start by saying this year I vowed I would not work Christmas day – despite what you may think, people who go out on Christmas day are not always the most cheerful! However, a few weeks ago, I found myself bed-ridden with whatever virus is going around, and so when my manager asked me “are you here for Christmas? We really need people to work Christmas day...” the financially responsible part of my brain went “yep, you SHOULD do that because it will help make up for the wage you lost while sick, and this time of year is expensive!”

I wrangled with this for a little while (ultimately saying yes), debating whether I was feeling a sense of obligation to my workplace to help out, or to my partner to contribute financially, but I did some inner reflection and realised that for me currently, it made sense to work the shift Christmas day. I compromised, and will still be able to do Christmas breakfast and dinner with my partner, and earn money in between that will allow me to have a much-needed holiday in February.

This made me really think about all of the other “should” statements we place on ourselves (or by/on others) this time of year. For example, I SHOULD have Christmas with my family this year because I didn’t last year. We SHOULD spend Christmas with my partner’s parents because we haven’t for a few years. I SHOULD buy everyone I love gifts because that’s what you SHOULD do this time of year. I SHOULD prepare a traditional Christmas dinner because that’s just what you SHOULD do. Or my favourite one, when you ask someone what they want for a gift and they say “nothing” or “just money for my holiday etc.”, and immediately you think “yeah but I SHOULD get them something in case they get me something.

Are you sick of seeing that word yet?? I’m surely sick of writing it! Imagine how draining it is to hear that in your own head over and over again! Townsville’s heat drains my energy enough as it is without torturing myself mentally like that!

But I digress. The overall message that I’m going for here is that by doing the holiday season a little differently, or allowing quality time for yourself and those close to you is not being selfish or Grinch-like. You can still enjoy the holiday traditions you want, and give to those you love without having to sacrifice some of the only down-time you may have for a while, especially if you are a business owner like our resident Grinch Alex.

So, my three key messages to take away this silly season are:
  1. Practice conscious gift giving – ethically and personally. Really listen to what someone is wanting for a gift (if you are set on getting them one) and get them something that aligns with their values
  2. Start doing some positive reflection on the year that’s passed – often we get so wrapped up in what we need to “change” or “fix” in the new year, that we forget to celebrate the goals we achieved this year
  3. Stop using SHOULD – Whenever you hear that word pop into your head, or come out of your mouth, stop and ask yourself why you feel it necessary. Is it for yourself, or is it out of obligation?

Whatever you’re doing this silly season, be safe and have fun, but most importantly take time to appreciate those who have made 2017 a fantastic year! Now I’m off to watching a bevy of Christmas movies starting with The Grinch, because sometimes you need to laugh at Jim Carrey covered in green fur to know it’s really the holiday season!

Happy Holidays from Madi Ecker and the team at Be Psyched

P.S. To prove that Alex isn’t a complete Grinch, I’ve managed to get a special rate for TBWC members on coaching and counselling sessions for the whole month of January 2018!! Whether it’s to help get rid of those “should statements” or launch your career/goals to the next level in 2018, we’ve got you covered!

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