Living away from the place we once called “home” can make family and friend gatherings extremely special moments.
And in the countdown to those reunions, there will always be a combination of excitement, anticipation and expectations that can sometimes create negative feelings when faced with the occasionally disappointing reality.
What if we could prepare ourselves in a way where we could make those moments as special and positive as possible? How about doing a quick reality check first, planning ahead and creating a personal intention of mindfully approaching those gatherings with these 5 steps:
1. Make a list of the special people you most want to spend time with. Schedule those gatherings first. We all have those relatives that although dear to our hearts, drain our energy, either by reviving or creating conflicts or by criticizing our choices. Still make the effort to see them too, but limit your time with them.
2. Prepare to adapt. Remember what your family loves doing and join them. My dad loves to watch crime TV shows. It’s not my genre of choice, but every now and then, I jump on the bed and watch an episode with him. I try to focus on the happiness that brings to him rather than the activity itself.
3. Prepare yourself to be flexible and spontaneous. If something isn’t working, just abort the plan. Go somewhere else, join another celebration, be creative and propose a new idea!
4. Be open. Remember that in life, everything changes. You might have less in common with your best friend than you once did, and that’s ok. Or there might be new important people in the lives of your loved ones. Now is the time to get to know them.
5. Be realistic. Avoid frustration by limiting the amount of activities you schedule. If possible, leave some days with nothing planned, and let those days just “be.”
Most importantly, schedule time for you. Take that nap, read that book, take that walk, go to your favorite childhood place. Remember that your time and attention is the best gift you can give to yourself and others, and enjoy your family and friends with less expectations and only good intentions in your heart.