It is that time of the year where there are lights, love, laughter - and loads of expectations. Certainly this season is meant to be about spending cheer-filled time with family & friends while focusing on fun and feasts. Depending on your circumstances and list of things to do, however, our experiences can be stressful and draining. Here are a few suggestions to keep your spirits up and help your holiday feel more plum fairy-kissed than sleigh-dragged:
Tip #1: Send Expectations Up the Chimney
Instead of expecting a snowglobe version of a picture-perfect holiday, take a realistic inventory of past events with the characters you will be seeing. Give up any expectations that far exceed what you already know and have experienced first-hand.
Tip #2: Visualize Your Holiday Event
Although you may have chosen to eliminate unrealistic expectations of others in number 1, that doesn't mean you can't set yourself on course for that warm holiday feeling.
Before a holiday gathering, spend about 10 minutes in a quiet place with eyes closed, imagining how you want things to turn out - especially focusing on how you want to feel at the end. Literally let yourself feel that feeling you desire. Remembering this desired outcome can guide you in making better choices during the event. For example you might get clearer when it's to cut off a conversation or change a topic or even retreat to another room; or it might help you give more hugs and listen to others with more intention. Listen to the guided meditation below to help with this.
Tip # 3. Rearrange Your Stockings
See if, based on the past seasons, there is anything you would do differently this year - - maybe you prefer to sit beside someone you especially enjoy during the big meals. Possibly plan something with a friend or go see a movie after family time.
Tip # 4: Note Presents in the Present
Keep a notebook by your bed and in the evenings write down at least three things that you are truly appreciative of from these days. This activity builds positive reinforcement in your brain for the things that are happening in your heart's favor and allows you to expand your sense of gratitude.
Tip # 5. Give to Yourself
No matter how great things are going, holidays can increase our stress levels by having more to do, sleeping away from home, and hoping to give the perfect gift. To remedy this, we will do well to give back to ourselves. Plan activities that will bring you back to yourself after the holidays such as long walks, reading in bed, hot baths, yoga, or getting a massage.
When you do something that makes your life better, please feel free to let others know. Your actions could inspire them to do something similar. I wish for each of you to have a loving, enriching, and peaceful transition into 2015.
With Much Love & Gratitude,