If the holiday season stresses you out, you're not alone. Why do you think there are so many Christmas disaster movies? The thing is, it's not just the hustle and bustle of decorating and black Friday shopping, the holidays can cause unresolved emotions and family grievances to surface. 'Tis the season of joy not suffering. So here are a few simple tips to save you from holiday hell.
Get Out of Your Head & Into Your Body
Between travel, gift giving, family dynamics, and food preparation, having a completely stress-free holiday is sometimes easier said than done. One flight delay or burnt apple pie could send you over the edge.
If you find your mind racing with anxiety and overwhelm, the last thing you want to do is remind yourself to calm down. Using your head to get out of your head doesn't work. That's the time to call your body off the bench and into the game. Because when that frenetic energy drops into the body and moves through you, it's a game changer.
There are lots of ways to get into your body but some of my favorites are:
Taking a walk in nature-You'll get additional benefits from the fresh air and sunshine. Not to mention, forward eye movement helps you release stress from the mind and body.
Yoga or any form of exercise that incorporates breath- Whether you're holding a posture and counting breaths or lifting a pair of heavy dumbbells and counting reps, you're not only in your body but you're in the power of the present moment.
Conscious breathing- There are so many breathing techniques like box breathing, Wim Hof breathing, resonance breathing, etc. I'm a fan of belly breathing, taught by Dr. James Gordon. You simply breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, keeping your belly soft. You can add the mental mantra Soft Belly by using soft on the inhale and belly on the exhale. Do this for a few minutes and you'll feel a shift.
EFT Tapping- If you haven't tried tapping, you're missing out! EFT Tapping consists of lightly tapping on a series of meridian points on the body around your head and chest while repeating a relevant script. This signals safety to your body and thus creates new, healthy pathways around unhelpful thoughts and feelings. Here's a quick video to help.
Keep Your Life Condition High
Life condition refers to your inner, energetic state. It's like the compass that guides your thoughts and actions whether you're aware of it or not. You can also think of it as your dominate vibration. Stress, anxiety, and overwhelm are often symptoms of a low life condition. If you can elevate your vibe, then you can manage holiday stress with grace. Everyone will have a different practice for this. Whatever yours is, I highly recommend making it part of your daily routine and not just a holiday special appearance.
Here are a few ideas:
Reading or listening to inspirational and encouraging content
Express gratitude mentally or by journaling
Keep It Simple
In our commercial culture, it's easy to go overboard with Pinterest worthy holiday decorations, more impressive gifts for the family, and playing hosts to family, friends, and neighbors. When coming from the right place, those are all beautiful expressions of creativity and love. And if they don't cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety, knock yourself out setting up the hot cocoa bar below the handmade wreath. But if you're doing those only because you think that's the only way to enjoy the holidays, you have permission to stop.
I grew up with Christmas on steroids and I always felt warm and abundant during holidays. Now that I'm older, I seek quiet and true quality time over quantity. In fact, we don't even exchange gifts with my husband's family, a tradition they introduced, and it's actually really nice. We just enjoy good food, homemade cocktails, table top board games, and tons of laughs. There's no pressure. No stress.
Making the switch to a minimalist holiday may not go over well at first, but if you let the heart of the holiday guide you, you may find that the holiday joy multiplies.
So there you have it! I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. What are your tips and tricks for reducing holiday stress?
And if you're still struggling through this season, I'm here to support you. You can reach out anytime!