There’s a clear distinction between those of us who find the holidays stressful and chaotic and those who seem to navigate them with a calm that feels almost inhuman.
That difference? Patience.
Those who have mastered the art of patience in these hectic times often seem to enjoy it the most.
They’re not just stoic on the surface, either. These patient vacationers have habits that keep them cool and collected while the rest of us are tearing our hair out.
So, what are these clothes?
Stay with me as I share nine habits that people who have mastered the art of patience during the holidays usually have.
1) They start early
If there’s one habit that sets patient vacationers apart from the rest, it’s this. They start preparing for the holidays well in advance.
Why does this matter? Because it takes the pressure off. From buying gifts to planning meals and decorations, they spread these tasks out over weeks or even months. This means they don’t cram everything into a few chaotic days.
By the time the holidays roll around, they’ll be ready. They’ve done their prep work and can now relax and enjoy the festivities without the stress of last-minute scrambling.
Starting early may seem like a simple habit, but it’s a powerful way to cultivate patience during the holidays. And best of all? It’s something everyone can incorporate into their own holiday preparations.
2) They embrace imperfection
This is a big one for me personally. During the holidays, I always emphasized every little detail. From the perfect tree decoration to the perfectly set dining table, I wanted everything to look like this.
But then I realized something. My quest for perfection robbed me of the joy of the season. The stress and pressure just wasn’t worth it.
That’s why I consciously chose to embrace imperfection. My tree may not look like it came straight out of a magazine, and my dining room table may not be Instagram-worthy, but that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay: it’s liberating.
By embracing the imperfection, I and others who have mastered the art of patience can enjoy the holidays for what they truly are: a time of joy, relaxation, and spending time with loved ones.
By letting go of unrealistic expectations, we can fully immerse ourselves in the holiday atmosphere without unnecessary stress.
3) They practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is no longer just a buzzword thrown around in wellness circles. There is compelling scientific evidence supporting its benefits.
This is evident from a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that mindfulness can actually lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
During the holidays, those who have mastered patience often practice mindfulness to stay grounded amid the chaos. Instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking and decorating, they take the time to be present and enjoy the moment.
This can be as simple as enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, admiring the twinkling lights on the tree, or enjoying the company of loved ones. Practicing mindfulness not only reduces stress but also increases their enjoyment of the season.
4) They delegate tasks
Patience is often linked to a sense of control. When we feel overwhelmed, our patience tends to run out. That’s why those who handle the holidays with grace and patience don’t try to do it all themselves.
They delegate tasks. For example, if they are organizing a Christmas dinner, they can ask guests to bring a dish. Or they involve the whole family in decorating the tree or wrapping presents.
Sharing responsibilities eases the burden and reduces stress. Plus, it’s a great way to bring everyone together and create shared memories of the holidays. This is one of those habits that not only contributes to patience, but also improves the overall vacation experience.
5) They take care of themselves
During the holidays, it’s easy to get so caught up in taking care of everything and everyone that we neglect our own needs. But those who have mastered the art of patience know this self-care is crucial.
They make sure they get enough sleep, eat well and stay hydrated. They also make time for exercise or other activities that help them relax and recharge, whether it’s yoga, reading or a gentle walk.
Taking care of themselves can help them cope with holiday stress and maintain their patience even when things get hectic. It reminds us that self-care is not selfish; it’s a necessity, especially during busy times like the holidays.
6) They focus on what really matters
Amid the glitz and glamor of the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters. But those who have the patience to endure these times with grace never lose sight of this.
For them, the festive season isn’t about the most lavishly decorated house or the most extravagant gifts. Instead, it’s about spending quality time with loved ones, creating memories, and sharing joy and warmth.
They understand that in the end, it is not about material things, but about the love and companionship we share. This genuine understanding allows them to remain patient and calm, even amid the holiday chaos.
They know that these moments of connection are what make the season truly special.
7) They don’t sweat the small stuff
I remember a time when a burned batch of Christmas cookies sent me into a tailspin. I agonized over it for hours, regretting my mistake and worrying about what people would think.
But over time, I’ve learned that these little missteps don’t matter. So the cookies get burned – what then? There’s more to the holidays than perfect pastries.
Now I laugh off these little niggles. I’ve realized they’re not worth the effort stress and anxiety. In doing so, I’ve discovered one of the most important habits of those who navigate the holidays with patience: they don’t sweat the small stuff.
They understand that things will not always go as planned. And when they don’t, they pride themselves on it, keeping their focus on the big picture instead of getting caught up in small mishaps.
8) They set realistic expectations
Setting sky-high expectations for the holidays can be a recipe for stress and disappointment. That is why those who have mastered the art of patience during this time set realistic expectations.
They understand that not every moment has to be filled with holiday magic and that it’s okay to take a break. They know that not every meal has to be a gourmet feast and that simple, home-cooked food can be just as delicious.
By setting realistic expectations, they avoid the disappointment that comes with unmet high expectations. This helps them stay patient and calm even when things don’t go exactly as planned. It’s a valuable habit that can make the holidays much more fun.
9) They practice gratitude
At the heart of a patient’s approach to the holidays is a deep sense of gratitude. Those who endure this time with grace and composure know the value of appreciating what they have.
They are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate, for the company of loved ones, and even for the challenges this season brings. This gratitude helps them stay patient and centered no matter how hectic things get.
Practicing gratitude isn’t just a habit, it’s a mindset. And it can transform not only your experience of the holidays but your daily life as well.
Final Thoughts: It’s all about perspective
The essence of patience, especially during the holidays, is deeply woven into our outlook on life.
It’s about finding joy in the journey, not just at the destination. It’s about valuing experiences over things, about connections over perfection. It’s about understanding that stress and chaos are often imposed on ourselves and that we have the power to choose a different path.
And while these habits can help cultivate patience during the holidays, they aren’t exclusive to this time of year. They are practices that can improve our lives all year long, bringing us greater peace, fulfillment, and yes, patience.
So as you navigate the holidays – and life in general – remember this: patience isn’t just about waiting. It’s about how we wait, and the mentality we use in that waiting. It’s about choosing calm over chaos, gratitude over grumbling, and love over stress.
And it’s a choice we can make every day, at any time. That is the real art of patience!
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