Lots of pressure, no relief? Here are my tips on surviving holiday stress (and every other time of year!)

Click the “play” button above to listen to the audio.

Look forward to a new year ahead!
Look forward to a new year ahead!

Regardless of your spiritual orientation, be it around a religion or the winter solstice, the end of the year is a time for reflection of days gone by, celebration and gratitude for where you are now, and inspiration for the coming year. I embrace any and every opportunity to enjoy my journey and always look forward to this time of year. But as I glance around on the highways, supermarkets and shopping centers – I see lots of sparkling decorations but not a whole lot of cheer.

Don’t get stuck in the trap!

Why is that? Because modern day commercialism, the material trap, has created this insatiable need – through slick marketing – for us to produce ‘the best gift ever’ for that special someone. We believe in it so much that we take on immense pressure, with little to no relief, and this festive season ends up turning into more of festy one, and gets despised more often than embraced. So, I have a few tips for those who are thinking of joining the Grinch Club, which may make surviving holiday stress just that bit easier.

Tip #1: Breath.

When you walk through Aunty Em’s door for the first time in years, your smile turns upside down when she says, “Oh my dear, you’ve gained weight!”  In all instances where the delivery of information isn’t what you expected, stop a moment and breath. Give yourself a moment to recollect yourself so instead of saying back, “Oh Aunty Em, you have less teeth this year!” you calmly say, “Oh yes, but it’s so good to see you”. Remember, it’s but a moment in time, and you get to choose whether it’s going to be a good one or bad one.

Tip #2: Let Go.

Don't be a grouch, grinch!
Don’t be a grouch, grinch!

Afterwards, Aunty Em just keeps fussing about how bad this or that is, creating a buzz of negative energy around you as you try to get comfortable at the table. You’re not a black hole where anything which gets dumped into it just disappears, so let it go. You are not Aunty Em, and she is not you; her opinions are hers and although they may be judgmental, but her thoughts are not who you are – unless you take them and store them inside. Only carry within you that which serves your greatest and highest good.

Tip #3: Focus.

By now, the whole family is in an uproar about something Aunty Em said to your cousin, your mum’s in the kitchen saying “I can’t believe what she said…” and your niece is on the porch complaining about the lame gift of socks from somebody. But if you allow yourself to follow the lead of others, you will join in their Sad Parade instead of leading a new one. Instead of saying “Oh mah gaaaaaaw I know, can you believe it?“, choose a focused response of “Yeah, it might not be what you expected mum, but let’s focus on enjoying ourselves – we’re only together every now and then“. You’ll be proud to be part of the reason why the family pulls back together to celebrate instead of separated and grouching around.

From my home to yours.
From my home to yours.

Tip #4: Love.

It’s clear with the festivities coming to a close at your Aunty Em’s, that everybody’s different, even if you have the same blood. Love has no criticisms, no judgement, no barriers or requirements. If and where ever tips number one, two, and three failed you, this one trumps every time. Come from a place of love in all that you do, and all will turn out well. Enough said.

Tip #5: Gratitude.

As you get into your car to head back to the sanctuary of your home, you realize, “Hey, my family’s not perfect – but that’s why I love them. If we were all the same, it would be one boring get together!” You understand that people might not always say or do the right things by your expectation – but you’re grateful anyway. Why?  Because you realize, “Just like me, they’re not perfect either.” Your gratitude for accepting what is as opposed to your upset for what’s not, is what’s going to carry you into the new year with so much promise.

You can make it happily ever after!

As I’m sure you can see, my simple tips on surviving holiday stress can be applied anytime of the year, in pretty much any situation. I would be so proud if you took on any or all of them with you during the holidays, or on your life’s journey.

And no, my five tips are not new by any means, but applying them in your life might be. 🙂  Do you think you can turn your life the happily ever after at any time? Well, I sure do! Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences by commenting below!

And Oh! and while I still have your attention, I’d like to take the opportunity to send you so much love and light my friends – now and all year around. I’ll catch you in the new year! Namaste xo

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