The holidays can be incredibly stressful. With social, financial, and emotional commitments, it becomes easy to get caught up in it all. While it can be difficult to refocus our energy during this time, it is possible. Here, I share tips for bringing more mindfulness and consciousness to the holiday season (and life itself!).
Be sure you are taking time for yourself during this busy time of year. Listen to your body and mind. Is your body asking for a break from the endless holiday parties? Do you need to schedule a day to take care of your mental health in whatever way is most useful for you?
Slowing down gives us the opportunity to enjoy each moment as it comes. During the holidays, it is important to ask yourself “why” you are doing all the things you are doing. Often, our reasoning is not that we do certain things because they bring us joy (which is what the holiday season should be about!), but rather that we feel we must or we should. This is a perfect time to practice making choices that truly serve you and your family. Are the commitments and obligations on your calendar things that you really want to do with your family?
Try not to personalize another person’s behavior. Negative emotions around you are not yours to take on – not even your children’s emotions. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that we cannot control another human being. The only thing that we can control is ourselves and our reactions to those around us.
As hard as it can be, try not to take things personally. We are not responsible for other people’s behaviors. We must remember that No reaction or action (silence) is often best!
Avoid getting into the drama and chaos that sometimes can come up during family get-togethers. When you feel triggered, excuse yourself, take a walk, meditate or listen to music, or spend a few minutes alone in a quiet place. Take some time out, so that you can return to a place of calm and peace within.
Create values for you and your family about what is important during this time of year. What family activities do you all enjoy? What activities do you want to let go of? Look within, and bring your family values to life. Try not to do things out of obligation if they don’t feel right to you. Look at what you can give up, and prioritize the things that bring more peace and joy to your holiday season.
Make it Simple
Don’t overcomplicate things. The holidays are about family, connections and being together. It is not about the scheduling (or overscheduling), the food, the gifts, or logistics of how our days are going to go. This time is for connection and memories. The simplicity of it involves the being, more than the doing. How can you bring simplicity to your holiday?
“I have 20 gifts to get! It is stressing me out”… said, everybody!
Bring your personal family values to gift-giving and receiving. How can you remove “shoulds” in the need to participate in gift-giving and receiving, and do what serves you?
Get serious about finding new ways to give gifts and define the holiday. White Elephant, Secret Santa, try not to be attached to old ways of giving. Give based on your personal values and connections, streamlining the process and paring down your shopping list.
Do we need to buy all that we buy? When we keep it to a minimum, we decrease the stress associated, and perhaps can return to the joy of the season in a conscious and mindful way. Be creative this holiday season and give yourself permission to make the choices that feel right for you.
By making an effort to remain conscious of your choices, reactions, and values, the holiday season does not have to be a stressful time. Instead, see how you can shift the way you and your family see the holidays and focus your effort on bringing on less stress and more joy. Start small! Perhaps just choose one of these tips this year. You can always work on applying more next year. Over time, you WILL be able to see the holidays with a clear, calm mindset. Let’s all enjoy this time of year, instead of agonizing over it! Happy Holidays!
Listen to the Conscious Parents, Thriving Kids podcast episode by clicking the link below: