Between the quest for perfection and high expectations, shopping, extra bills, higher congestion and traffic, negative news spilling anger and fear, sometimes challenging weather, and just plain all-around busy-ness, extra stress is inherent during the Holiday Season. Here are some tips to try that may deploy to restore the grace and peace this holiday season… and beyond.
1. Slow Down And Observe: Step back, slow down, and become the “observer.” The holidays can become quite frenetic and crazy, but less so if you can detach and maybe even find things to laugh about. Let your good will shine forth.
2. Give Thanks: Nothing is quite the effective tonic as finding things to feel thankful about and then expressing them even in a nonverbal way. This energy will boomerang right back at you.
3. Practice Gratitude: Gratitude is the perfect antidote to depression. Set about to find things to feel be grateful for each and every day. Better yet, write them down. In a short time, you will have rebuilt your “gratitude muscle” and feel so much better!
4. Increase And Show Your Appreciation Level: It’s one thing to mutter “Happy Holidays” to someone and quite another to offer a word of appreciation accompanied by a genuine smile. There is something to be said about “being of good cheer. so really show it!
5. Respond and Don’t React: Reactions are asleep knee-jerk actions that usually come from fear or one of its many cousins. Reacting is the enemy of evolution and enlightenment. Instead, take a moment to reflect and consider before you act. If you notice yourself thinking, feeling, or saying something from old negative or fearful habits, just stop. Take a deep breath. Step left. Look around. Consider, and then respond.
6. Establish Graceful Limits: Emotions run high at this time of year as do temptations. Resist the urges to eat or drink too much. Beyond your own good health taking a setback, too much excess can hurt others by what is said, done, or accidents. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t respect your boundaries. It is up to you to maintain them, to politely point out when you are uncomfortable. If the other person can’t take a hint, don’t repeat your objection, just walk away.
7. Go Easy On Yourself: Remember that the Holidays nor any day is the determination of success or failure so rather focus on being present and easy with yourself. Many fokls are weighed down by demands they make on themselves, so consciously look for ways to be easy on yourself. Taking time out every day for a few private moments to relax, exercise, and meditate is a good practical step. Perhaps you may even want to focus more on others. And remember the old saying, “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”
8. Avoid Toxicity: Everyone has their own journey and becoming less judgmental of others is a splendid gift to self. That said, if you spot toxicity in others, avoid it the best you can, and remember that toleration of others serves as a good lubricant.
9. Find The Good In Others: What you focus upon you get and what you resist persists. There is good in everyone though you may believe that with some you have to work harder to find it. Make it your holiday challenge to do so.
10. Consider What You Can Give And Not What You Can Get: How can you lovingly add to someone else’s experience during the holidays? Perhaps you might expand this beyond the usual suspects of family and close friend?
11. Forgive: Forgiveness works any day of the year, but is an especially relevant gift to yourself and others during the holidays.
12. Eliminate The Criticism And Complaints: Be the light, loving, positive person that others will want to be with and not a complainer or critic. Not only will others gravitate to you and appreciate you more, you may too.
13. Look For New Responses In Life: View others and things with a “fresh eye” and “listening ears.” Open up your awareness to something or someone that you haven’t noticed before – perhaps a different point of view. Or simply center yourself and be quiet inside for a moment. Notice nature. The point is to step outside constricted awareness. Being “tight” in your awareness supports the reactive mind that never expands whereas being “loose” in your awareness supports a more appropriately thoughtful and responsive mind ripe with openness and growth.
14. Create A New Positive Habit That Works For You: You don’t have to wait until the end of the holidays to create a new, positive habit or resolution. Rather take charge. Commit and do it now!
These fourteen points give you a personal agenda for the holidays, and with a little creativity, you can personalize them to fit your life. And Happy Holidays!