Survive & Thrive: Stay Cool and Stress-Free

Once you’ve laid the groundwork over the last few weeks: setting your intentions, planning in some free time, and aligning your spending with what you most desire, it is time to sit back and enjoy the holidays to the fullest. I’m not living in a fantasy land, I realize things are still going to pop up. After all,the visits with family begin and that brings with it a whole new ball of emotionally charged wax. What I do know is that how you show up for these days are the truest test of your commitment to what you said you wanted (the intentions you set).

For instance, if your intention is to have a holiday filled with peace, love, connection, and some fun and the inevitable hiccups in plans show up (as they will), you get to choose your reaction. Will you choose something consistent with your intention? Or will you revert to jumping into frantic, angry, or stressed out mode? It may sound easy on paper, but I know it is not as easy as it sounds. When faced with a moment that makes you want to run away screaming, I know it is so much harder to take a few breaths and stay present with what is happening. I also know that flying off the handle does nothing but create a bigger mess to clean up later.

Here are my tips for staying cool and stress free during the holidays. And remember, if you are feeling good on the inside you won’t be tempted to throw money at a situation and binge eat, drink, shop, or whatever other unhealthy coping mechanism you’re tempted to fall back on.

Remember Your Intentions

If need be, get out that list of intentions and read it over and over. Remind yourself of the experience you most want to create over the holidays and use that as a guide to keep yourself on track. It is so easy to get off track in an instant and then wonder how the hell you got there. I’ve experienced momentary bouts of that already. The key is being aware enough to notice when you are straying from your intentions and make a course correction as quickly as possible.

Be Present

Nothing eases your fears and stresses faster than being fully present in the moment. All is well in this moment is more than just a mantra. Take some deep breaths. Get quiet. Feel your body in the chair, your feet on the ground. Notice your surroundings. All these are tools to pop you out of the swirl of crazy making and into the present moment with a quieter mind.

Keep Things in Perspective

When emotions run high it is so easy to blow things out of perspective. What might be as simple as an overcooked holiday meal can turn into a family crisis at the drop of a turkey baster. Before you know it things escalate, people are yelling, crying, and saying things they don’t mean. Whatever the upheaval, remember that the earth will not fall off of its axis. Take things with a grain of salt and know that you do not have to change the world when visiting for the holidays. Lively discussion is encouraged, but a knock down drag ’em out fight with your politically divisive cousin over a hot topic is not a recipe for staying cool. By keeping things in perspective, I’m not advocating dropping your boundaries or allowing others to walk all over you. You can take a stand, just do so with grace and love. Remember to pick your battles.

Navigate the Season with Curiosity

You know how kids are so wide-eyed with the spirit of magic at this time? That is because they naturally have a beginner’s mind and see everything through fresh eyes. No matter your age you too can choose to be curious rather than curmudgeon. Rather than feeling like you know how everything has to be, just allow it to unfold. If you think you already know someone (especially family) allow them to be who they are but be curious about it. Like “Hmmmm I wonder how Aunt Sally got to be so stuck in the past” rather than “That damn Aunt Sally of mine never talks about anything that happened after 1943”. I guarantee if you choose to go about your activities with curiosity it will feel lighter and you open yourself to far more possibilities.

Rest and Create Space

Get plenty of rest and create space in your schedule to just BE. When you’re rushed and tired you are automatically more stressed. Pad your schedule so you can get a proper amount of sleep, have plenty of time to get where you need to be, and don’t feel like a slave to the clock. Your body AND those you are visiting will thank you for it.

Give Yourself Permission to Enjoy

Above all give yourself permission to just enjoy whatever you’re doing at the moment. Nothing “has” to be a certain way. Cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to enjoy the experience. It’ll not only make the holidays more fun, but it’ll set you up for a fresh start to the New Year rather than feeling like you just got hit by a bus.

Wishing you an outstanding holiday!!

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