As the holidays are upon us many folks begin to feel frazzled, pressured and decidedly stressed about meeting all the obligations that this season can bring. Rubbish I say! Now is the time to commit to a safe, sane and spiritually centered holiday season. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful over the years to minimize stress and remember what the holidays are truly intended for:
Minimize your Holiday Schedule – This year I am not flying all over trying to see everyone on or before the holiday. I’ve realized that relaxed time with family on Dec 26th can be just as special as the day itself. This also keeps me from feeling stressed on a day I want to feel happy & grateful. Create a holiday schedule that minimizes your time in the car, train or airplane.
Make it about Time not Money – Many people feel financial pressure at the holidays which is augmented by our culture’s focus on gift giving and shopping. Why don’t you bake some cookies instead of going to the mall. Make it a holiday tradition and get the kids involved wrapping them up for people with nice notes. I can assure you that a thoughtful, homemade gift will be more important to people than anything you could find elsewhere. You can also make cute hand made gift certificates for a lunch or dinner after the holidays. People remember the connection you have with them more than what you purchase.
Saying No is OK – At some point in the holiday a co-worker or relative will ask you to do something you do not really want to do. Give yourself permission to say, “No.” Say it with grace and compassion but stick to your guns about your schedule, your time and your budget.
Focus on the Inside – At this time of being with family it is important to focus on what matters most in family – our connection, support and love for one another. Use this family time as an opportunity to exercise the muscle of forgiveness. Bury the hatchet and allow yourself to be in the present with your family rather than being stuck in old emotions and past hurts. By focusing on today you will give yourself the best gift of all – emotional freedom and serenity. If others in your family try to drag you back into the old arguments just smile and walk away.
Remember the Children – The holidays can be a wonderful time to engage with the children in your life whether you are a parent, aunt, grandparent or family friend. Make an effort to make holiday memories with them. Take them to visit one of the many holiday light displays, visit Santa or invite them over to help you decorate. These family memories and traditions bring warmth to their life and especially yours. You will both have something to treasure from the holidays if you make this effort.
Lastly, remember the holidays are your time. Take charge, make good choices and make it a time to remember from the inside out!