“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. “
~ Lily Tomlin
In our busy, often filled to the brim lives, the approaching holiday season can bring more stress and dread, instead of the peace and joy we all crave.
The demands of the season are abundant. Shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining, and parties, are just some of the many additional things “to do” from November until the end of the year. Added into all that is a covert expectation to be cheerful and it’s no wonder stress is in the air!
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can experience more joy and less stress this year by following a few simple guidelines.
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Awareness is the first step in changing patterns that no longer are working for you.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t imagine feeling happy about the holidays and all there is to do, talk about it with someone who can really listen or journal about it. Doing so begins to release the pressure.
- Instead of thinking you “should” feel a certain way, allow yourself to know what it is you are feeling first.
- Be proactive and intentional in creating your holidays
- Instead of falling prey to holiday “shoulds” and stress, take some time now to “create” how you want to feel, act and think during the holidays.
- Engage in a “daydream” as you give yourself the gift of “quiet time” to discover what it is you truly desire this season. Perhaps more heart to heart connection with others is more important than gifts.
- By using your powerful mind, you can imagine, create and mentally rehearse the holidays in a way that works for you.
- Include how you’ll take time for self care. Perhaps see yourself sitting quietly and enjoying a cup of tea with no distractions as you give yourself the gift of inner calm.
- As you create and focus on what it is you want, notice how it feels in your body. This will guide you later in knowing if you are on or off in your intentions and allow you to make course corrections.
- Plan ahead
- Planning ahead puts you in the driver’s seat. You’ll feel more calm, instead of stressed out and frantic!
- Remember you can say NO!
- You don’t need to say yes to every invitation or tradition because you think you “should.”
- Check in with your vision and intention for your holiday season. Consistently doing so will tune you into what is going to work for you or not.
- Saying no to some traditions and events, while embracing the ones that are most meaningful to you, connects you back to the freedom of choice.
- You won’t get caught up in feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
- Say YES to your well-being
- Say YES to being mindful of healthy habits.
- Empower yourself with the choice to enjoy some flexibility in your food choices without consistently over indulging, feeling guilty or stressing about food and your body.
- Keep asking “am I in alignment with my well-being?” “If not, what can I do about it?” This puts guilt and shame out the door and puts mindfulness in charge.
- Getting out for even a short walk will do your mind and body wonders!
- Practice gratitude daily
- Use a notebook or a special journal to keep a daily gratitude list.
- Take 5 minutes of quiet time and reflect on what you appreciate in your life.
- Take a few deep focused breaths
- Place your hand on your heart.
- Reflect on what you are thankful for and appreciate in your life
- Write them down. It imprints more deeply into your subconscious.
- Gratitude fills you up, leaving you feeling more joy and connected to possibility.
As the holiday season unfolds, following even some of these guidelines will provide a foundation for less stress, less overwhelm and gift you with the presence of more joy and peace.
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