We’re back to talk about the Circle of Control! The concept was originally created by Stephen Covey He created the Circle of Concern (things we care about but can’t control) and the Circle of Influence (things we care about and can impact). That has been further simplified into things we can control (and/or influence) and things we can not. I’d like to talk about the
I shared my Circle of Control: Family and now we’re going to talk about the Holiday Circle of Control
The holidays can be really stressful and that’s why it’s important to be able to discern where we are able to focus our energy and make a difference and when it’s something that’s out of our hands. As someone who is often a bundle of anxious social energy, I always worry about everything. Will people like their gifts? Will everyone feel included? Am I saying the right thing? Should I do this, or should I do that?
Things in your control during the holidays.
Your Boundaries: You get to decide what your boundaries are. You can’t control if others respect those boundaries, but you can make boundaries and enforce them. (Even though it’s uncomfortable. See “Setting Boundaries During the Holidays“)
Your Self-Care Routine: The holidays can feel like an endless list of to-dos. What gifts to buy, what recipes to make, decorations to put up, festivities to attend – make time for self-care in between those things. You’re important too. Treat yourself like your joy matters.
Your Budget and Spending:
This also goes back to boundaries. You can set boundaries with your spending even if it disappoints other people.
Holiday Events You Attend: You can say ‘no’. You don’t have to go to everything you’re invited to if it doesn’t hold joy for you. Your energy and your time are such precious resources, give it to those who honor that.
Traditions and Celebrations: If your traditions are tied to unpleasant memories or feel forced – make new ones. Our family loves books (or comics), pajamas, and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.
Things out of your control during the holidays.
Family Dynamics and Drama: While you can choose to set boundaries and remove yourself from those situations you can’t control how others react to each other. (A reminder for those who get stuck in the role of family mediator.)
How Others React to Their Gifts: (This is my anxiety weak point) Even when we put time, effort, and thought into choosing gifts sometimes we’ll be met with disappointment, dissatisfaction, or even indifference, and even though it can be hurtful it’s ultimately outside your control.
Travel Cancellations, Delays, Unexpected Weather: Despite meticulous planning, flights might be delayed, or plans might need last-minute adjustments. Take a deep breath and do your best to roll with it. (And if you’re like me – focus on the backup plans.)
Shipping and Delivery Times: Try as we might, we can’t always account for delivery delays, lost packages, and out-of-stock options.
Differing Opinions & How Others Spend Their Holidays: No one is going to have the same holiday experience. And while sometimes it would be nice if everyone’s plans and traditions meshed, that’s not always the case.
Remember the holidays are not about making someone else happy.
(Unless it’s your kids but add you-happiness in there too!), it’s not about achieving perfection or fulfilling every expectation. It’s about focusing on what truly matters (and that might be different from what you grew up valuing or were told to value), prioritizing your joy, and create a meaningful holiday experience for yourself and those you love.