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Navigating the Holidays Mindfully

The holiday season is fast approaching, and while I love many parts of this special time of year, I also feel anxiety as my to-do list begins to grow.

While my experience might be an anxious one, I know for others the holiday season triggers stress, depression, and sadness – making this time of year anything but merry. Whether you find yourself alone this holiday season, having to choose between spending time with your family or your spouse’s, or any number of work or life stressors, know this: there is a healthier way to navigate the holidays than to expect perfection and to overload ourselves with tasks and to-do lists.

Setting ambitious goals and achieving them can be very satisfying and fulfilling – as long as they represent what we truly want. Why not take this month to explore what you love, what you don’t, and what makes a holiday season a time of joy and peace for you? Set aside some quiet time, breathe deeply until you feel a sense of centeredness and calm, and ask yourself: “What is my vision for a meaningful, joyful, and peaceful holiday season?” Notice what comes up for you…what calls to you. And let yourself be surprised! Often we think we know ourselves only to find out we are basing our plans and decisions on someone else’s values and goals.

Need a little more support? The following six basic stress reduction tips will help you avoid burnout during the holidays and create memories, not madness:

  1. List your goals and refine them often
  2. Lower your expectations
  3. Plan ahead and “do” ahead
  4. Delegate, delegate!
  5. Set your budget and stick to it
  6. Be with people you love and who support you

For more tips and resources, check out a few blogs I have written over the years:

Approaching the Holidays Mindfully

Navigating the Holidays Mindfully

Seize the Season! Ten Tips for Surviving Holiday Festivities

Protecting Eating Disorder Recovery During the Holiday Season

Six Holiday Stress Reduction Tips

And check out this TED Talk with Kelly McGonigal, it’s brilliant!

How to Make Stress Your Friend 

I hope these hints help you as the holiday season approaches. I wish you health and happiness, joy and merriment, and ease and calm in the weeks ahead.

In gratitude,

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