In order to take good care of ourselves and enjoy the holiday season, we may want to re-evaluate some faulty beliefs many of us share, which can cause seasonal stress. Most people believe that the holidays are a time for living unselfishly. We often believe that we must make this time special for everyone around us, honoring all of our family rituals, buying expensive gifts, overeating and over drinking at parties, or perhaps, travelling away from home on a vacation.  We may also feel that we do not measure up to seasonal expectations.  For example, we might not choose the correct gift, not be able to create an attractive and decorative home, or successfully entertain our guests. These beliefs can be supported by our culture and by the commercialization of Christmas.
Holding onto these ideas can cause this seasonal stress and even anxiety.  By the time January arrives, exhaustion has set in. We can change our attitudes and the way we live through the holidays by making better choices.
Honoring our own spirit and getting honest with ourselves is a necessary initial step. We can listen to our inner voice and feelings for clarity, direction, and insight. We might then ask ourselves, what brings me joy and energizes my heart during this beautiful season?
It is important to keep an eye on any excuses we may be giving ourselves, when we do not address our own needs.  Be honest and do what brings you joy. Re-examine your family traditions. Keep those you want to continue, and let go of those that no longer fit you.  Remind yourself that the real purpose of this season is to love and honor self and others more deeply and authentically.

Action Steps For Getting Through The Holidays

“There is no better way to contribute to the peace in the world than to bring forth the peace from within ourselves.”            
– Marianne Williamson
Give the gifts of JOY and PEACE to yourself and others! Give these to yourself and others. Be aware of what drains you and eliminate these activities.  You might take 10 minutes each evening, gather the family, and enjoy the beauty of the lighted tree before retiring. The season will be over so quickly, make time to breathe and slow down.
Decide to connect to the true nature of this holiday season. Gifts do not have to be elaborate to be meaningful. Nor do we have to spend endless hours shopping. Buy your gifts on line, give gift cards, or make your presents. E-mail your Christmas cards, save time and stamps. Get creative with your gift giving!  Perhaps, give a friend a gift certificate for a lunch out in January. You will have more time to spend with each other during that less hectic month. Offer to baby sit for a young couple, help clean out a friend’s garage, or cook someone a meal. These can be welcome gifts indeed.
Notice those individuals who may be overlooked at the holidays and acknowledge their services. Examples are mail carriers, garbage collectors, auto mechanics, and others. Show appreciation by giving them a small gift card or baking a homemade pie. Choose a child’s name from an ANGEL TREE and get the whole family involved in making one child’s Christmas very special. Spend your time and money on those in need.
May you all be blessed with a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season!