Friday, November 30, 2012

Enjoy the Holidays More: Get Rid of Holiday Crap

Guest Blogger Erika Oliver, MPA, gives a good lesson in how to relax and enjoy the holidays more by getting rid of the "crap" that holds up back.

Whether you embrace the magic of Christmas, are kin to the Grinch, or fall somewhere in between, the holiday season brings many opportunities for both stress and joy. It's easy to get caught up in the stress but often hard to tap into the joy. Holiday "crap" -- obligations, deadlines, expectations -- can make the season more stressful than joyful.

Don't despair. You can cut the crap and enjoy the season by choosing your perspective, deciding what you want to focus on, and taking action to avoid or relieve the holiday pressure.

1.  Cut the crap by sharing three good things. Share three good things about the day or season before you even think about complaining. The most common words during the holiday season are "busy", "stressed", and "tired". Throw the negative words into your mental back seat and replace them with words of gratitude.

2.  Cut the crap by revising, replacing or removing traditions that no longer serve you. A child asks his mother why they cut off the end of the holiday ham and the mother says, "Because that's the way my mother did it." The child asks the grandmother, who says the same thing. When asked, the great-grandmother says, "Because the ham wouldn't fit in the pan!" Maybe it's time to recheck traditions and routines to be sure they still fit, have the same meaning they once did, or produce the intended results. If you are doing something that creates tension, cut the crap by revising, replacing or removing something that no longer serves you.

3.  Cut the crap by creating a holiday exit strategy. Prepare for a positive finish to the holiday season. Decide what experiences are important for you and how you want to feel when the season is over. If you don't want to be tired, broke and stressed, then make a plan to end the season with energy, joy and financial well-being.

4.  Cut the crap by taking your eyes off your plate. Holiday negativity festers in a closed environment. Stress can cause us to isolate ourselves emotionally and physically, so cut the crap by reaching out. The holidays are the perfect time to take your eyes off your own plate and look to fill those of others.

5.  Cut the crap by dousing the flames of negativity. Firefighters teach people to "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch on fire. The same strategy works to cut the tendency to focus on the negative and miss the positive. When you feel tension, stop what you are doing, drop your negative feelings and roll into appreciation of the moment. Go back to step one and share three good things about the day, moment or season with someone to tap into the positivity of the season.

Happy Holidays to one and all.


As a positive communication coach, business consultant, and author of the award-winning Three Good Things: Happiness Every Day, No Matter What! and Three Good Things: A Coloring Book for Everyone! and now Happy Crap: The Power of Positive Assumptions, Erika Oliver, MPA, helps people, teams, and organizations find their "happy." She uses the principles detailed in her books to help people and organizations choose a positive approach.

Before focusing on spreading the happy kind of crap, Oliver consulted with businesses of all shapes and sizes to build teams and share their positive messages with the world. Oliver has taught at a community college in business and communication and addresses audiences that are ready for business -- personal or professional -- as unusual.

To learn more about this recovering pessimist's positive communications approach, please visit Oliver's web site

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