The holidays are here! That magical time of year with lights, laughter, shopping, food, and stress galore. My clients have been asking for strategies to maintain balance and sanity over the holidays, so I thought I might share my top 5 favorite tips with you as well!
1. Give yourself permission to leave.
Going home for the holidays brings up a multitude of feelings and can be an incredibly stressful experience. Being around family inevitably brings up triggers from the past, and we can instantly feel 16 again – irritated, powerless, and misunderstood.
The great news is you are an adult now! So, even though you can’t change your family, you have the power to limit your exposure to them by giving yourself permission to leave or take a break. You don’t have to make a scene or anything – you can simply take your laptop and say, “I have some work I need to get done, so I’m heading to Starbucks for a few hours…bye!”
2. Say “no” to events, traditions, and parties that do not bring you joy.
There are just a few weekends in December, and I know from experience, you can run yourself ragged by trying to fit in every party, tradition, and event you’re invited to.
There are wonderful, fun, glittery, enjoyable things to do over the holidays, and there are those things that are lack-luster obligations. Skip the ugly sweater Christmas party your annoying co-worker invited you to, decline the crowded festival your second-cousin asked you to attend, and trust that you can create a more stimulating, fun evening for yourself instead.
By allowing yourself to say “no thank you” to those events, people, and traditions that don’t fill your soul with joy, you create more space, time, and energy for those that do!
3. Drop the guilt about possibly hurting feelings or disappointing people by saying “no.”
I know, I know….easier said than done! However, when you say “no” with love and respect, you maintain your integrity by staying true to yourself and setting healthy boundaries. By graciously turning down an invitation that doesn’t jazz your spirit, you’re showing yourself the utmost respect and sending yourself and those around you the message that you value your time and energy.
Saying “no” to things that don’t serve you is a very important and difficult life-skill to master. Even when you get ballsy enough to do it, you might feel an initial sense of relief and empowerment, followed by the stomach dropping, heaviness of guilt.
My advice to you on curbing the guilt is to:
1. Be gentle with the part of yourself that wants to please others and cares about their feelings and what they think. Don't shame or criticize this part of you because that enhances the self-deprecation that is keeping you down. Instead, love on that part of yourself as you would console a small child.
2. Remind that part of yourself with gentle, loving, kindness that you are doing this to free up space within yourself to have more energy and joy to serve others in your life. Self-care and boundaries are essential to fanning the flame inside that keeps you motivated to love and care for your loved ones and your community...so it's actually a pretty self-less act when you get down to it!
4. Say “YES!” to events, traditions, and parties that do bring you joy.
I realize this may be a no-brainer after reading about saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t bring you joy, but I thought it was worth mentioning and exploring the power of saying “YES!” When you receive an invitation that makes your heart flutter with excitement and brings you a warm sense of peace within your gut, you owe it to yourself and the universe to not only say “yes…” but “Oh, Hell YES!”
Accepting an invitation of that nature, energetically invites more light, joy, and sparkle into your life – which in turn gives you plenty of energy, light, joy, and sparkle to spill out into the hearts, lives, and souls around you. Perhaps you have said “no” to the obligatory work party that sounded dreadfully boring, so you now have a free Saturday night to create a new tradition with only your very favorite people.
Ignite your soul with a new pretty party dress, a night out on the town with your best friends, spiked hot chocolate, and twinkle lights galore. Indulge in what makes you feel alive this holiday season. I promise – you won’t regret it!
5. Mindfully, intentionally enjoy the present moment.
The holiday season brings its own unique set of sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures to the table. It only lasts for a month, so I challenge you to indulge your senses and see what happens.
Really smell that cinnamon scented candle and watch the flame as it dances and flickers.
Pause to hold your hot cup of cocoa in your favorite mug up to your nose and allow its delicious scent to wash over you and fill you with warmth before taking that first sip. And when you do take that first sip, mindfully notice its creamy texture, warm temperature, and the taste of chocolate and gooey marshmallows delighting your tongue before swallowing, sensing the warm liquid descending down your throat and filling your belly with a cozy sense of well-being.
See what I mean?
Slow down and allow the soft, cheerful glow of twinkle lights to reignite your childlike sense of wonder. Slow down and mindfully place each ornament on the tree as you listen intently to your favorite holiday music. Slow down and notice the feeling of excitement in your stomach when you hit the “check out” button on Amazon after finding a gift you know your best friend will love.
Because you have dared to eliminate the obligatory dreadful stuff and emphatically invited only joyful goodness into your life this holiday season, take pictures with your mind, and maybe a selfie or two, as these are the moments you will want to remember.
Oh, and in case you had any question about it, let me remind you:
You Deserve and Are Worthy of Joy, Peace, and Love. You’ve got this!