Holidays are time for having fun and enjoying family and friends. Let your creativity expand and only engage in activities that delight and inspire you. Here are some tips that you probably have heard before but are always good to keep in mind during this time of the year.
1. Remember the Good Times-Holidays are for celebrating life. As a society we need to take time to stop our daily routine and smell the roses (or the snow) and appreciate our gifts.
As you approach the Holidays or a holiday event if your anxiety level begins to rise, breathe and think of a positive memory of the Holiday or event. Summon up the great Thanksgiving when you were 10 years old and Grandma and Grandpa were alive, Mom and Pop were young and healthy, everyone you loved was there with your favorite foods laughing and having fun. Recall just that day and the warm memories it evokes.
Focus in the positive. One happy memory leads to another. If a negative thought or emotion arises, let it go and bring up another joyful one until you have a string of cheerful thoughts. Positivity breeds happiness.
2. Follow the Traditions You Choose-Just because it’s the Holidays doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
To tree or not to tree?: Enjoy decorating your Christmas tree? Go for it! I save the backache of hauling a tree and decorate with tinsel and spread ornaments around the house. Others adore hanging each and every ornament and the sparkle of tree lights. Make it a choice.
Christmas cards?: I love receiving them in the mail. Love them, send them. Email cards save time and postage or send letters after the rush. I had a boss who sent Groundhog Day Cards in February.
Parties?: I used to adore Christmas and Thanksgiving parties at my home for about 25 years. Then I was done. Now I will come to your house. There is a time for everything. If it is your time and your joy, revel in the celebrations you host. No apologies necessary for your choice. Choose the parties you attend. Save your energy for the best.
House decorating?: Love it–but I’m not getting on a ladder. If you have a hubby or a handyman, go for it. Otherwise a reindeer in the front yard is fine for me. I enjoy the joy others derive from their efforts.
As you can see I have selected the Holiday traditions that suit my lifestyle. Select the traditions you love and let go of the rest. Reducing your holiday activity level will reduce your stress and increase your happiness.
3. Eat healthy and avoid too much sugar-This is a must. We see scads if ads for too much food during the Holidays and much of it laden with fats or sugar. I’m not advocating we become monks. On Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice or whatever holiday you celebrate, enjoy the wonderful traditional foods of your culture or family or other cultures around.
Health expert warn that depression, anxiety, ADD, diabetes, high blood pressure and a variety of other health and emotional disorders increase during the holidays due to the increased intake of sweets and fats consumed over the course of the 6-8 week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. It’s not just the two or 3 days of celebrating that are the culprits, it is the candy, cakes, cookies and pies that are given as gifts, put out at parties, eaten as left-overs or simply are made ‘for the holiday season.’
I am guilty of over indulgence too. I love pumpkin pie and I only eat it during the holidays. I must confess that I have more than one piece. I am definitely a cookie monster too. This year I am resolved not to put on the traditional 5 pounds during the holidays. They are getting harder to take off every year. It is not healthy for me or you. So tighten your resolve, enjoy the special days but eat well of the good fruits, veggies and healthy foods the rest of the time and you’ll feel a lot better during and after the holidays too.
4. Keep finances within your comfort zone. I love giving presents. I also love having money in the bank. I get stressed when I owe money I can’t pay. Most studies show that financial pressure causes health, relationship and emotional distress.
Holiday advertisements pressure us to spend, spend, spend in order to give big, bright gifts to buy love from family, friends and colleagues. Avoid commercials! You do not need to spend money to have happy holidays. The best gift to give is yourself-your love, time, friendship and consideration. Give gift certificates for a lunch date with a friend at your house, a nail polish session with your granddaughter, a bird house building lesson with your son. They will love spending time with you, your budget will be sound, your stress level will go down and your heart will open. And you can even wrap these gift certificates up.
If you can, spread you gift buying throughout the year. Children particularly need to have presents to show to their friends and to satisfy the cultural norm. So don’t break your budget by spending all at once.
Charitable giving is a wonderful holiday gift. Children often can be involved and help in selecting the charity instead of receiving another toy or gift. I frequently give to worthy organization in the name of family and friends for holiday gifts.
5. Keep calm and avoid the crowds. Crowded highways, crowded shops, crowded streets, crowded, restaurants, loud noise and music contribute to high stress levels. Not having sufficient space for our energy field makes us irritable, nervous and uncomfortable. During this time meditate or find a quiet time daily especially if you are busier than normal. Here are some quick ways to find that quiet moment:
Take ten minute during lunch to breathe deeply, become centered and find a still point inside.
Turn off the radio and phone in the car on the way to and from work and drive in calm silence.
Turn off the TV and phones and turn on quiet music-no vocals-while making and eating dinner with the family if the day has been hectic.
Take a bath before bed to relax and read something inspiring-no TV.
If you find you are stressed, stop and simply take a slow deep breath. Say ‘peace’ silently.
Smile at everyone you meet. Give compliments to sales clerks, waitresses, postal workers, etc. They are making the holidays happier for you. Help them out.
Drop a coin or a bill in the bucket of the bell ringer as you pass it. It doesn’t hurt and it will help someone else.
Quietness and calm is at a premium during the holidays. Make it a priority every day.
6. Exercise-We often ignore our bodies’ needs in the busyness of the season. One of the best stress reducers is exercise. If you exercise regularly, maintain your exercise routine during the holidays. Don’t skip it. Your body will doubly miss it if your schedule is interrupted.
If you don’t have a regular exercise routine, NOW is a great time to start NOT after the holidays. Now is when the stress arises. There are too many food temptations, too many crowded places, too much noise, too many intrusions on your time and energy. Exercise will dissipate the excess energy from your energy field. Exercise allows endorphins to flood your body with positive energy, helps you relax mind and body and encourage deep and restful sleep. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself during this season.
Don’t have time? Take your kids for a walk. Walk during your lunch hour to and from the park instead of eating at your desk. Walk for 10 minutes before and after work. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or take long. Just move and breathe. It helps.
7. Extend love to others-Volunteer at the food bank, help serve Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas dinner at your church, synagogue, the homeless shelter or other organization in town. Invite an elderly, single newcomer or homeless person to dinner. Donate to a non-profit organization particularly one that has touched your heart or has supported you in some way this year. Invite a relative you have not spoken to in years to a gathering and try to mend a relationship.
The holidays are about heart. Opening our hearts expands our love, joy and happiness. Sometimes a little pain, tears and sorrow comes in too. If we stop the busyness and find the stillness, we can choose happiness in the holidays.
Wishing you every happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year.
Many blessings to you and your family,
Ancestral Lineage Clearing