Have you noticed that combining unrealistically high expectations with the chaotic pressure of the season is a “perfect recipe” to create holiday stress? In addition, when insecurities are stirred into the mix, the natural joyful flavor of the season…often soggily sinks to the bottom.
Can you relate? I sure can. Unfortunately, the holidays can escalate our stress levels—especially if we allow our own competitive (or perfectionist behaviors) to take over. Meanwhile, when we relentlessly push ourselves to check off tasks from our mile-long “to-do” lists—we often end up with intense holiday overwhelm that prevent us from enjoying (or appreciating) the moment. In this way, we transform a holiday—an uplifting celebratory event—into an exhausting drama!
So, now that we’ve illuminated the shadow side of the season (and hopefully clarified how we don’t want to spend our holidays), let’s focus on how we can create what we do want. Here are my 4 TIPS to Create “Stress-LESS” Holidays.
~ Mindfully G.I.V.E. ~
The acronym G.I.V.E. (Generous Intentions = Vital Energy) is an invitation to trade in holiday exhaustion for holiday exhilaration.
Okay, let’s explore the individual aspects now:
1. G: Practice opening your heart to an attitude of GENEROUS abundance.
When you open to a sense of generous abundance you shift away from scarcity thinking, such as: there aren’t enough positive resources—like attention, love, or joy—to go around. If you practice embracing sincere generosity, then you align yourself with free-flowing abundance.
2. I: Ask yourself, what is my INTENTION for:
- Buying (or making) a gift for someone?
- Creating (or attending) a celebratory event?
First, notice if your intentions include perfectionist tendencies or being overly concerned with, “What will people think?” If you identify these stress-generating intentions, then remember that you CAN’T control what anyone else thinks. So, consider focusing your energies on what you CAN control.
Next, clarify and connect with positive intentions. For example, when it comes to gift giving: “I’m buying a gift for my brother to express love and care. I don’t need to compete with other family members by spending more than I can afford.”
And, when it comes to attending a celebratory event: “I’m going to my friend’s holiday party to connect with people I care about and to have fun. I don’t need to impress anyone to feel okay about myself.”
After clarifying your intentions toward various holiday activities (especially the ones that feel stressful), spend a few minutes jotting down your thoughts on paper.
3. V: Nurture your VITAL needs. Maintaining your needs is essential year round—and crucial to create “stress-LESS” holidays. So, remember these basic daily needs and:
- Breathe deeply and slowly…to calm yourself (especially while sitting in holiday traffic)
- Keep yourself well-hydrated (even at the mall)
- Exercise regularly (according to your doctor’s recommendations)
- Eat balanced, healthy meals (avoid skipping meals and increasing “overly zealous” holiday snacking)
- Make time for lots of nourishing sleep (savor those z-zzz’s)
4. E: Honor the natural ebb and flow of your ENERGY during the holiday season. If you need a break while shopping, decorating your home, or cooking, then listen to your body and momentarily hit the “pause button.” Then, head for a café (or your kitchen table), sit down, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. On the other hand, if you’re home, consider taking a short nap. The good news is—resting, regrouping, and recharging leads to increased energy.
Finally, you might want to keep these 4 tips in mind as you G.I.V.E. to yourself and others. Then, invite in the exhilarating gift of Generous Intentions = Vital Energy. My best to you as you consciously create…a stress-LESS and play-MORE holiday!
Save the date and join Trina for her upcoming 2014 workshop for women and men: Managing Emotional and Compulsive Eating—John Muir Women’s Health Center: Tuesday, February 18, 6:30-8:30 pm. Cost: $40 (Includes Weight Loss: 2-CD set). Seats are limited—register today for this inspiring workshop: (925) 941-7900 option 3. For more info, go to www.TrinaSwerdlow.com & click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.”
Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author of Stress Reduction Journal and the 2-CD Set, Weight Loss: Powerful & Easy-to-Use Tools for Releasing Excess Weight. Trina has a private practice in downtown Danville. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.