This year let go of the “Have-tos and Should-dos”

Posted Friday, December 20th, 2013. Filed Under My Daily Dose

Dr. Phil offers his guidance on letting go of have-tos and should-dos.

He says that some of us have this idea about the holidays where the perfect family sits around he table and enjoys being together. Everyone gets along, nobody’s resentful and everybody’s grateful.

The thing is that this scenario is for the storybook or a picture on greeting cards.

In the real world, with our fast-paced lives, the holidays usually mean stress. People are scrambling to make shopping lists, fretting about our budget, driving long distances so we can endure together time with relatives you rarely see and whose names we can barely remember.

Many feel compelled to be with family we don’t really know for too long a time in too small a space – and spend money on things most don’t need.

Following Thanksgiving and leading up to New Year’s we pile expectations on ourselves and everyone around us. People talk about the good ‘ol days even if those days weren’t so good.

Rather than putting yourself in a position where you are stressed think of doing something different this year.

Dr. Phil puts out a challenge to his followers:

Give yourself permission to get rid of the ‘have-tos and should-dos’. He gives examples of a few assumptions that you can turn upside down.

I see this side of the family only once a year so I have to squeeze in all the togetherness I can :

Just because you’re connected to people on a genetic basis doesn’t mean you can relate to them on a personal basis. What if your definition of family this year includes only nuclear family – the people you value above all others? Don’t blow off the grandparents – FaceTime of Skype them or plan a trip for the summer and you’ll be able to enjoy more relaxed one-on-one time.

I have to buy everybody the perfect present
Create a new tradition: Draw names, so everyone gets just one gift. Or turn gift giving into a kids-only event. Even better, organize a family donation to your favourite charity.

I have to make my famous roast and 15 side dishes
People may love your food but you no one expects you to toil hours over a hot stove. Unless you love being in the kitchen for hours or days and then spend 15 minutes (literally! okay maybe 30 minutes) of eating choose to buy some of the items. For example salad, sides and the dessert. This can shave hours off your cooking and allow you downtime.

Figure out where your priorities lie. If you value time with your kids who will be home from college, why invite all the neighbours over? If you don’t want to spend the day cooking and being the maid and cook then maybe you can make a reservation at an affordable restaurant instead. Or maybe you want to focus on gratitude if so, you can choose to feed homeless families at a community centre.

This year you can create a whole new experience that you want. Stop letting your guilt control you and throw traditions that are not working out the door.

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