Five Ways To Harness Holiday Stress!

SG_HolidayStress 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.

Peace out.

Getting Into The Spirits–er, Spirit!

the-christmas_530387355 Have you seen them yet? The Salvation Army bell ringers? They always put me into the Christmas spirit. It seems like, even if I have no money to spare, not even any change at the time, they always greet me with a “Merry Christmas!” and I can’t help but wish them the same. To me, seeing the bell ringers is a sure sign that Christmas is in the air.

If we sit back in our chairs–try it, right now, where you are—and close our eyes, we can think back and remember Christmases from when we were children. There’s the scent of freshly baked gingerbread cookies and your mom is calling you to help with the cutouts.

Maybe your family went out to cut down your very own pine for Christmas. The smell of the needles fills the air and stays the whole season through.The lights twinkle and mesmerize.  Your presents seem to suddenly appear under the tree the morning of Christmas, and you’re young enough that you still believe in Santa Claus. They’re opened amid some “ooohs” and “aaahs” before moving onto the next.

You play with your presents while your folks linger a bit over coffee before cleaning up the wrapping paper. Then perhaps there’s a special breakfast and getting dressed up for church, if you’re religious. If not then the cooking for dinner starts straight away, and guests from near and far begin to arrive.

It’s not so hard to get into the Christmas spirit.

Just close your eyes and . . . remember your favorite one, whether you were very small or all grown up.

Peace out.