The holidays can be tough. There is so much to do, places to go, people to please, and all the while trying to stay in the “holiday spirit”. Being kind this time of year can be a serious challenge. That’s why I have been REALLY trying to remember the #imkinderthanthat mantra. There are little things you can do to help others AND yourself during what can be an incredibly stressful time.
Here are a few things I have been doing to alleviate my own stress and make me feel like I am taking the kinder route (even if I want to tear my hair out because I am so annoyed by people):
- Letting someone go in front of you in line. When you see someone with just a few things or someone is clearly stressed out, letting them move one spot up in line can make all the difference. And honestly, it’s really not the move, it’s about the kindness that has been shown to them. Is that extra 5 minutes really going to ruin your day? And just think, it may have made theirs.
- Being less aggressive in the car. I am a very aggressive driver, and I am so easily agitated by people in the car. The holidays just seems to magnify that. Allowing someone to “cut in” or stopping to let someone pull out of a driveway or street may be the kindest thing you do that day. Maybe they are late for their kids Christmas show or trying to get the to airport to travel home to see their family…those extra minutes aren’t going to hurt you and it may help them tremendously. Trust me – I know this one isn’t easy.
- Be generous. Yesterday I went to Starbucks and bought ten $5 gift cards. I thought it would be nice to have them with me if I wanted to “tip” someone or if a homeless person asks me for money. I used my first one yesterday at the office, when the security guard that I see every morning went out of her way to get me some information that I had asked for. She was SUPER appreciative. Her surprise and gratitude was worth WAY more than that $5 I had spent. For $50 I will be able to show TEN people appreciation and kindness…seems like a small price to pay. If you are on a budget, as this time of year money can be very tight, just SAYING thank you to the person who is helping you and letting them know how much what they have done means to you will make just as much of a difference. Generosity isn’t about money…it’s about kindness.
- Wishing people “Happy Holidays”. It doesn’t matter what you celebrate this time of year – it is still the holidays. When you wish someone “Happy Holidays” it helps BOTH of you get into the holiday spirit!
- Listening more. This time of year can be really hard on people for a myriad of reasons. They may be missing someone that they have lost, they may not be able to be with the people they love, or the holidays may represent something traumatic in their lives. Being mindful of this, and just listening to people, whether they are complaining, grieving, or just crabby, can be the kindest thing that you can do. No need to give an opinion…just listen.
Being “kinder than that” has it’s challenges, but living it every day makes it become a part of who you are. Gratitude is synonymous with this time of year, so own your gratitude and be kind my friends. Happy Holidays!