“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, “Tis the season to be jolly”, and “Festival of Lights” are some of the sentiments of the holiday season but it’s also a time when stress can surface. However, frustration and pressure do not need to be on the holiday menu or guest list. You can help reduce stress by remembering these seven things.
YOU are the most important gift.
Create memories with those you love that you will cherish for a lifetime. Share in the gifts of family and friendship. Be grateful for those who have touched your life and have helped shape who you are today. Be thankful for everyone, even those who you disagree with or challenge you. They are your teachers and a part of the landscape of your life.
It’s Ok to say no.
You can choose which gathering you wish to attend and which to bow out gracefully. Decide where you want to be and who you want to be with to celebrate the holidays. Surround yourself with thoughtful and supportive people as opposed to the stress of individuals who complain and find fault or couples who bicker among themselves.
Time of reflection.
As you gather around the table, reflect on what you are grateful for, both big and small, this past year. Perhaps go around the table having each person share three inspiring and insightful things that they learned about themselves and the world this past year. Be appreciative of everything life has to offer. Then follow it up with one thing they are ready to let go of for the New Year to create more space to grow. You may also share beautiful, heartfelt, and fun memories of holidays past.
Celebrate vs. desecrate.
Let go of any inner scrooge you may have brewing inside. Avoid any bah humbug attitude or discussions that may dampen the joy, peace, love, and happiness that surrounds the holiday spirit. To that end, refrain from arguments or debates, especially around the dining table. Remember and share what this time of celebration means.
Be mindful of others.
Keep in mind the holidays are not a joyful experience for everyone. Some people may be experiencing pain and suffering during this time of year. Some may be missing loved ones who have passed on, live far away, or who are abroad protecting our country. Reach out to these individuals with kind words of love, compassion, and support. Perhaps include them in your festivities.
Let go of expectations.
Lighten up on holding onto how you think things should be, based on your way of doing things. Holding onto expectations can lead to disappointment or conflict. Your belief or approach is only one way out of many. There is a good chance that our expectations will not be identical to someone else’s. Both styles are correct from each person’s point of view. Let’s say a few family members are preparing the holiday meal. Appreciate each person’s contribution, even if they may or may not be doing it the way you would. Notice their important role and let them know how thankful you are for their help.
‘Tis the season to celebrate and that includes the potential for overindulging in sweet temptations. Bite-size treats and desserts abound. To help reduce those sugar cravings, eat mindfully. Sweets are not the enemy. Moderation is the key. Savoring a few bites of a delicious dessert may be all it takes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Eating mindfully is a full sensory experience.
First, look at the food and notice the colors and textures.
Next, smell it in anticipation as to what it will taste like and be aware of how you begin to salivate in preparation for digestion.
Then, slowly take one bite and be mindful of the flavors and consistency, and the process of chewing, making this food a part of you.
Feel the sensation of swallowing and the delight in the taste that lingers in the mouth.
Wait a moment to complete this process before taking another bite.
Holiday stress can also trigger food and sugar cravings. When you come across a stressor, reduce the physical response with the following simple 4-step STOP technique. Once you are able to calm the body and mind, then you can address the root cause of the stress.
- Tune-in with how you are feeling
- Observe the breath
- Practice slow, deep breathing
Holidays are about beliefs and traditions, family and loved ones. They are about memories new and old. As we celebrate with food and song, they are a special time that holds special meaning to be shared for generations.
Note: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with your doctor first before starting any new practices or health programs.
Copywriter Notice: No part of this article may be used without the written permission of Jan Kinder.