The winter holiday season offers a wonderful time to enjoy special moments with the ones we love. For many, this time of year also stirs up some emotions around family, past memories, loneliness and reflecting on where our life is now. It can also cause stress like spending money one may not have on gifts, shopping mall crowds, an overload of obligatory parties to attend and reactivating sad or bad memories of past holidays.
Many of us fantasize during this time of year of a perfect holiday gathering, the laughter and joy of having the whole family gather, but for some, it's one of the most stressful times of the year. Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the winter season, so stay awake to what's going on in your body! You can catch yourself slumping or squeezing your belly tightly or even unconsciously broadcasting a physical message through your body language towards a relative.
The 'expectations' of perfect holidays, along with 'New Year Resolutions' all lend to having us take a deeper look at our life. And, the good news is if we see something we want to change, we can!
Ask yourself, "How do I want my holiday and new years season to go? What action steps can I commit to that will help me create a less stressful and more joyous end of the year?
Here are some practical suggestions to help you enjoy this season.
1. Rather than strive for perfection, accept where you are at and do the best you can. Don't take on more than you can handle. Fire yourself from being the family super hero. You can contribute to your family by taking good care of yourself first. Remember that and do a lot of slow deep breathing, especially before you get on a plane or walk into a relative's home. Stay connected to your body signals.
2. Relax and meditate, run, walk, play, to help you stay open, relaxed and energized, and more in your body and less in your head. Take breaks for your own well -being.
3. Write down how you vision your holidays, and make a list of what needs to be done, so your mind doesn't have to work so hard remembering everything or worrying about forgetting last minute food or gifts.
4. Plan out your shopping strategy or homemade gifts, in advance, and use on line shopping if you can. If shopping in stores and malls is fun, festive and therapy for you, then go for it. If not, shop , craft at home by pressing buttons.
5. Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, avoid conflicts. I failed at this terribly many times, but the past few years I practiced, sitting back, breathing and saying, "I hear you" and avoided heated arguments that way. I know what I say won't change their very rooted political beliefs and in the past only wound up being uncomfortable, so I choose to not engage in left vs. right and in laughter and love more.
Hope these tips contribute to a wonderful holiday season as you travel, interact with family members and eat like crazy.