During the holiday season we often enjoy the company of our friends and family from near and far. But it can also be a very stressful time with long “to do” lists, handling “colorful” family personalities and hosting guests or traveling. Whether you’re looking for a pet sitter for “Spot,” figuring out what electronic gizmos will hold “Little Bobby’s” attention for an entire plane ride, trying to make a gluten-free version of a Martha Stewart-like dinner or biting your tongue as “Aunt Betty” provides commentary about each dish…you can become very overwhelmed. So here’s few simple holiday stress busters that can help:
- An Attitude of Gratitude List. Time Investment: 20 minutes. – But before the season gets too close, make a list of each person that you will encounter at a holiday get-together. You can make one list for each holiday event – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas etc. Next to each person’s name, write one thing about them that you are grateful for – big or small, whatever comes to mind… “Aunt Betty” may be a self-appointed food critic but when you had the flu, she was the one that made you home-made chicken soup, out of love for you and genuine concern. So rather than focusing on people’s idiosyncrasies, focus on what you love about them.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally. Time Investment: 30 seconds. If someone says something to you that you’re not thrilled about, do not let it reel you into a reactive state. Then…Go back to tip #1 on the list! What is the one thing that you are grateful for about this person? Think about it and then release attachment to the situation. Also remember that “Uncle Joe” may have made comments about “Aunt Betty’s” cooking for years, so she may be operating from her bruised ego and it may have nothing to do with your “stuffing being too dry.”
- Breathe! Time Investment: 60 seconds. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to take in some oxygen. Breathe in through your nose easily, not your mouth. When you breathe in through your mouth, it initiates a stress response. Your mouth is for singing talking, and eating. Your nose is for breathing and smelling the aroma of the pumpkin pie.
- “You” Time. Time Investment: 30 minutes. Meditate. “But I’m too busy, I don’t have time for that right now.” When you’re that busy, you need it the most. You can actually gain more hours in your day because you’ll be more energized, more joyful, less stressed and less reactive. You can think clearer and have more flow. One really cool benefit of meditation is that when you do it daily, #1-3 become automatic – you automatically feel grateful, don’t take things personally and breathe easy.
Have an amazing and joyous holiday! Hey if you make that vegan, soy free, gluten-free pumpkin pie, I’ll take “Aunt Betty’s” share!
Blessings – Michelle