The holiday season- not always the stress-free experience we'd like.  Here some tips to find some calm, clarity and a sense of play in this unique time of year.

Forget yourself

 If ever there was a good time to let go of our own wishes and desires, to take greater interest and care in those around us, it is over the holiday season. It’s easy to be cynical about the commercialization of Christmas, but we are only buying into that concept if we feel obliged to do these things. To do so from choice alone is something altogether different.

Time better spent

 It doesn’t matter whether we like it or not, the holiday season is going nowhere. To spend lots of time thinking about how much we wish we were elsewhere, were with other people, talking about others things, or receiving different colour socks is fruitless. When we think in this way it makes us unhappy. So see the thoughts for what they are, smile at them and let them go.

Embrace the madness

 The truth is, we’re all a little crazy in one way or another. At no time is this more obvious than at Christmas. It’s easy to become judgmental in these situations and to be critical of others, but meditation reminds us that the condition of the human mind is a complex one, something which we all share. Ironically, remembering that we share this madness helps us to find some sanity.

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Find a sense of play this year

Find time to play

 When did the holiday season become so serious? Do you remember when it was a time to to get excited about, to celebrate and enjoy? Well, the holiday season really hasn’t changed all that much, it’s only our attitude towards it that has changed. So let down the guard, let go of the old ideas and any sense of seriousness and rediscover that inherent spirit of play.

It only happens once

 It’s like Groundhog Day, right? The same thing every year, over and over again? Or is it? Are we missing something, ignoring the details, wishing away the precious few days we have to spend with those we love and care about? But how many more Christmas Days can we expect to see in our lifetime? Reflecting thoroughly on this simple question alone can transform our experience of the holidays.

Want calm and clarity all year round?  Take advantage of our fantastic Psychology Today reader offer on the yearly Headspace subscription for a fresh start to 2013.

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