Gliding Through the Holidays (Mostly) Stress-Free

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Leave a little sparkle wherever you go!
‘Tis the season!

Welcome to December! A time of holidays, business, family, and STRESS. There is much to celebrate this month. There’s Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza, in addition to National Cookie Day, Human Rights Day, and a host of other celebratory and honorary events. Whatever and however you choose to celebrate, we know that all celebrations of any kind can come wrapped up in a whole lot of anxiety. Add a global pandemic to the mix and you may be facing a serious state of overwhelm.

While many of us love connecting with family and friends during this time of the year, the work that goes into those events can be challenging. We may spend time around others who make us feel uncomfortable, in situations where we feel out of place and doing things we’d rather not do. If simply reading about those things makes your heartbeat pick up and your blood pressure rise, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that up to 88% of people believe that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year. So what can we do to navigate this time of the year with grace, calm, and a clear head? Three ways: self-care, saying no, and choosing how to react.

While self-care is important any time of the year, it is critical during times of high anxiety and stress—in other words, the holiday season. With so much already on your plate, how on earth will you find time to take care of yourself?

Self-care does not need to be a whole day commitment. It does not need to be planned out in advance. You don’t even need to leave your home—or your desk!—to practice self-care. Here are some five-minute self-care tips that are easy, don’t require any equipment or appointment, and can be done wherever you are:

*get a drink of water
*write down or reflect on three things you are grateful for
*listen to your favorite song
*make a tasty drink
*stretch
*google something you love (animal friendships is a favorite of mine!)
*take 10 deep breaths
*text a friend or loved one
*light a candle
*eat a snack
*cuddle your animal companion

Taking care of yourself refills your personal energy well, makes you better equipped for working with energy that is not in alignment with your own, and helps you handle challenging situations with flexibility and ease.

In addition to amping up your self-care, you can also remove yourself from situations that do not resonate with you. Setting boundaries and telling others no can be difficult, but think of the consequences if you do not. You are likely to end up with a headache, fatigue, and be VERY irritable when forced to engage in situations you would rather avoid.

If you are uncomfortable around large groups of people, it is okay to kindly decline invitations to crowded events. Shopping in-person can be anxiety-inducing any time of the year, and even more so during the holiday season. You can avoid this through virtual shopping experiences. Many small businesses now have an online presence with free local delivery or curbside pick-up. Getting together with family and friends does not have to be a stressful event. Instead of taking on all the tasks of baking, cooking, cleaning, and wrapping on your own, enlist others to help out. Consider smaller gatherings, perhaps with a virtual meeting time so everyone can be “together.”

Finally, keep in mind that you are in charge of how you feel. When someone cuts you off in traffic or looks at you funny, you have a wide variety of choices. You can choose to get angry, yell, and scream. Or, you can choose to remain calm. Remember that, in any situation, the way the other chooses to act is a reflection of who they are, and it is not directed towards you personally. So that person who cut you off in traffic or gave you a dirty look in the checkout line probably has a lot of chaos going on in their life and is having difficulty managing it. You can rise above drama, and, in doing so, bring up the vibration of those around you.

With self-care, boundaries, and taking ownership of your emotions, this really CAN be a magical time of the year. When you embody the ability to be kind, act with love, and see situations from the other’s point of view, you spread love and joy to others, as well as to yourself. And love and joy are really what this season is all about.

Namaste,

Michelle Boening

Looking for more information on how to say no? Check out these helpful websites:

7 Ways to Say No Without Actually Saying It #CALMnotBUSY

The Magic of No: When to Say “No” and How