Avoid the holidaze & enjoy the season!
The holidays can be full of pressures. How do you find the “silver lining”, “the bright side”, “the joy” when perhaps you’re feeling lonely, depressed or stressed? On top of all this, there’s the “holiday tyranny” where we are encouraged or have learned to hide how we are truly feeling “for the sake of the holidays”. Although we logically know otherwise, we sometimes fall into old patterns and forget about loving ourselves first. There can also be mixed feelings and complexities that prevent our feelings from flowing. Instead we can get stuck or we stuff them.
For example, you might feel happy to see your Mom or Dad at Christmas, but feel sad that their health is failing, or has failed. You might end up doing most of the work while others sit back or make excuses as to why they aren’t doing more. Practicing self-love can mean being in the “messy middle” of all the circumstances and feelings. The key is noticing healthy ways to respond instead of old patterns of anger and frustration, or overindulging in food, drink, or shopping only to regret it later.
You are in the majority if you find yourself experiencing a less-than-ideal holiday season. It is easy to start believing that others are experiencing the perfect holiday time when you are constantly getting bogged down by the outside influence of high consumerism. I want to remind you that it is possible to stay centered and give yourself the gift of love.
Here are some of my favourite tips to assist you:
1. Put yourself on the top of your holiday list. Create a self-care plan. Think of what honours YOU and brings you joy! Here’s a hint: it’s usually the simple things like taking a hot bath with a good book or calling or visiting a dear friend. Practice ways to experience less stress. Take a time-out from the festivities when you need to. Short walks in fresh air can help you unwind and clear your head. Find something that makes your heart sing! I loved singing when I was little and I joined a Christmas Carol group this season. It has been a wonderful reminder of how much pleasure I get from singing.
2. Be an angel to yourself. Take a few minutes each day and reflect on what the season means to you. Create a cozy, private spot where you can relax and contemplate the season. Meditate with some soothing holiday music; savor pleasant memories from holidays past with a favourite beverage. Be your own best friend. Experiment with loving ways to fill yourself up and renew your energy.
3. Adjust and lower your expectations. Or, better yet , have none. Notice how your expectations bring suffering when they are not met. Notice the obligations you create in your self-talk. Are you “shoulding” on yourself? Focus on what’s good and working and practice gratitude. This is an instant remedy to get out of a pity party. If you’re having difficulty feeling gratitude, a sure cure is giving to others, and I don’t mean from a monetary standpoint. Volunteer precious time at a local community function of your choice.
4. Educate others in the best way to support you. Be clear about what actually feels supportive and ask for help. Yes, it is okay to ask for help! Lighten your load. Ask a friend to go for tea and find something to laugh about. Remember your sense of humour.
5. Experiment with new traditions and rituals for the holidays. Do things differently. Create new rituals that represent who you are rather than carrying on old traditions that don’t serve and honour your heart. Acknowledge the areas in your life at this time that aren’t working and speak up about them. If you have complaints about the holidays, see if you can put your complaints on paper and resolve to create new experiences. Share them with your loved ones.
6. Allow yourself to experience your holidays imperfectly. Revise your ideas of perfection and increase your capacity for spontaneous joy. For example, if you find yourself getting tense and pressured about preparing a meal, buying gifts, sending cards, trying to do it all, try doing less and notice how simplifying can give you a feeling of freedom. Refuse to be a prisoner of others’ expectations. Practice doing only parts of things, and doing tiny amounts. And don’t forget – ask others for help.
7. Be present for yourself and discover ways to spread joy and love this season. Remember LOVE is the most precious gift of all!
Thanks to Geri Eakins of Lovin Livin for contributing this column to Pure Power. We are excited to announce that Geri will be one of our keynote speakers at our February 22, 2014 Pure Power Event. Geri’s website can be found at. www.lovinlivin.com. To learn more about Pure Power’s upcoming events, visit www.purepowerevents.com
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