Sometimes it can feel like if we look up the word “holiday” in the dictionary, we’ll find the word “stress” next to it. It’s like a given.
But it doesn’t have to be, and today I’m going to list five ways to avoid holiday stress.
1. MEDITATE. Meditation is different things for each individual. I don’t think of it as necessarily getting into the lotus position and chanting an “oooohm”, although this does work for millions of people (truth is, I couldn’t get in the lotus position if my life depended on it – lol). For me, I remember what I was taught in DBT, which is based on mindfulness. I try to train my eyes on something. Then I focus on my breathing. That’s it. I might even say the words to myself as I breath: “iiiiin,” and “ouuuut.” Thoughts will come into my head while I’m trying to focus on my breathing, but I let them pass like clouds in the sky (this takes practice). Try it.
2. BREATHE. I am generally an anxious person, as a rule. If there is nothing to worry about, I will find something. Trust me. And sometimes, under stress, I think we can forget to take the deep breaths we need. We get oxygen-deprived. It leads to fatigue and irritability. It’s one of the reasons you find yourself yawning and thinking, “What’s wrong with me? I got a perfectly good night’s sleep!”
3. SHOP ONLINE. Monday, December 17th is Free Shipping Day online! That’s pretty fantastic. Over 1,000 merchants are on board right now to ship packages right to your door free of charge so you can stay at home and shop in your pajamas. No need to fight the crowds at the malls, no need to go out in the cold/heat/snow/rain. How cool is that? Just click on Free Shipping Day, say “I want to stay home!” and there you have it: the magic ingredients to a happy ending.
4. LIGHT A CANDLE. Aromatherapy is excellent for calming frayed nerves. Try Vanilla, jasmine, and patchouli especially. Right now there are candles that smell like evergreen trees at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Go crazy, just be sure to keep them away from anything flammable and blow them out before you leave the house or go to sleep. 😉
5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. There is no such thing as a perfect anything, most especially a perfect holiday. Someone is always late, or early, a recipe doesn’t look like the picture, or doesn’t taste like great grandma Edna’s, the dog gets into the snacks that are set out for company, and you don’t have enough time to do everything you wanted to do… There are many things that can go wrong. There is one thing that can go right. How you respond to all the things that go wrong. How you take it in. Go easy on yourself . . . don’t internalize. It’s NOT the end of the world. It’s one day, or one of eight days, or one of six days or whatever . . . it’s a moment in a bajillion moments in time. You will always be you. Fantastic, a miracle, one in a million.