Celebrating the Holidays: Five Essential Tips

The holidays can be a time of joy, love, family and friendship. Between the demands of traveling and socializing and the emotional aspects of meeting with family, holidays can also be taxing. At family gatherings, emotions from the past may come up. The abundance of sugar and alcohol, paired with decreased daylight can heighten emotional reactions and stress. Consider these measures to heighten your joy!

1. Lighten Up: Most of us make our holiday plans first and then figure out how we're going to manage the logistics. This sort of over-commitment and attempt to please everyone is sure to lead to stress and hurt feelings. Realize your limitations first and cut back on the commitments on your calendar.

2. Be in the Present: Start off your day with the intention to be aware and in the present. Create an affirmation such as, “Today I want to be clear in my mind, so that I can make the correct decisions. I want to be healthy and connected to my loved ones and myself.” When you start with awareness, you will enjoy a healthy outlook and a good mood.

3. Naptime: Unfortunately, adults are often woefully unaware of the impact of stress on their emotional lives. Rest and relaxation are crucial for renewal and balance, and never more than during the holidays. You can benefit from structured times for relaxation. Even a 15-minute nap or meditation session can reinvigorate you.

4. Be Thankful: Sometimes when you are in a bad mood, it helps to put your life in perspective. If your basic needs are being met, be thankful. If you are surrounded by friends and loved ones, be thankful. Add up everything you are thankful for and see if your mood doesn’t improve.

5. Meditation: You can meditate anywhere and at any time; all you need is a quiet corner. A great method to decompress and melt tension, meditation is also practiced as a tool for inner peace and spirituality.

Try my Stress Release Meditation. Slow down and deepen each breath. With every exhalation, mentally utter the word “calm” and breathe out tension from each part of your body. Release the remaining tension through the soles of your feet and your toes. You will be amazed at how energized you feel! (Available on CD. See Wellness Shop.)