Ashley Rickards Says… Don’t Expect This Holiday Season, Just Enjoy It

by Ashley Rickards

Don’t Expect This Holiday Season, Just Enjoy It


Ashley Rickards

Place enjoyment over expectation this holiday season. As we start to close in on the end of December, and you find yourself in the mirror doing your cute holiday make up staring into that gorgeous reflection, people like you and me start to reflect on our year and realise the end is fast approaching… Although we may have left our resolutions from the past year far behind us, our need to feel fulfilled takes over and we try to cram as much into December, food included, before the New Year. We want to enjoy the feeling of “success”. Instead of falling into a rushed flurry of, “Things to Do,” slow down for once in 2015 and appreciate the things around you – enjoy your life and take it as a moment of reflection, not requesting. Think about the things that make you happy, rather than trying to rush through life.

Common Expectations

Mounting expectations during the holidays can be stressful. We want to provide the best for visiting family and friends so we go above and beyond trying to make them feel at home. We want to give the best to our loved ones so we scrimp and scrounge for an extra chunk of change to gift people with the things they’ve been vying for. It’s so easy to get caught up in a race to throw the most accommodating party, be the hostess with the mostest and the gifter who puts a smile on the face of the receiver. This year, do something radical – let it go. Believe it or not, nothing will change. We often place these expectations on ourselves thinking it’s what others expect, all the while forgetting that the holidays means spending time with family, not spending money on them.

How to Let Go of Expectations

You rarely have nothing to give. You think you need to buy the latest and greatest for your boyfriend or best friend but you don’t need to buy anything to give something. Simply showing your appreciation more often than you do and giving your own time to be with them is recognised. Once this realisation comes to mind, it’ll be so much easier to let go of expectations. Release yourself from the expectations you think others are placing on you and suddenly the expectations you place on yourself will disappear, making way for mindful time spent with your friends and family.

Be Mindful

The key to letting go is being mindful. Here are some tips to be mindful from this holiday season so you can slow down and really appreciate all that is around you. Believe me when I say that you have time to be successful, and it doesn’t need to be done by midnight on New Year’s Eve.

  • Reflect on what the season means to you – become aware of how powerful and beneficial feelings of love and compassion toward others can be.
  • Spend five minutes planning your day, every day. What will you fit in today?
  • Make time for yourself to banish feelings of holiday stress. Step back, breathe and feel the sensations in the body.
  • Learn to say, “No,” so you can be present with yourself and not feel taken advantage of.
  • Resist the urge to over-spend.
  • Be grateful!
  • Find a phrase, gesture or song to help ground yourself.
  • Go for a walk – getting active if even for ten minutes a day can do wonders for the mind, soul and body.
  • Be lighthearted and soak up your sense of humour.

How to Live and Love Yourself

The season of giving often leads to us putting our own needs and desires to the wayside. One of the best ways to be mindful is to learn a little bit about ourselves day by day. Compassion for yourself will exude tenfold when it comes to showing compassion towards others.

Slow down and learn to love yourself so you can enjoy the holiday season with others and focus on things you actually like, like how your mum snorts when she laughs at the gag gift you spent your overtime pay on… You know you secretly love it. So, slow down and escape the negative feeling of needing to accomplish something big every year and focus on what IS right now and you’ll feel accomplished every day.

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