Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help for the Holidays

Often in my line of work I am asked, “Can you give me some simple ways to cope with the stress of the Holidays?” So in the interest of giving some helpful hints to my clients,

I have created a brief list of things anyone can do to smooth out the Holiday stressors!

  • Breathe. Take 5 minutes each day to breath consciously. If you want to include prayer or mediation during this time all the better, but do remember to take long, slow deep breaths.
  • Change. Remember that traditions are “someone’s way of denying that things change”. I am quoting a client here but her message is a good one. For myself, I used to insist on making dozens of cookies, and 5 gingerbread houses besides decorating to the nines, sending homemade cards, having our entire family for Christmas. Finally, after ending up in tears after every Christmas I heard my husband say for the umpteenth time, “Why are you doing all this?” And I realized no one cared except me. When I let go of MY expectations, I moved into really enjoying being in the moment and being with my wonderful family. THEY didn’t make those demands of me, I did. And guess what? NO ONE, not even I, miss those once held sacred demands! So check into your own traditions and see if there are some you can let go, to free you up to enjoy things more.
  • Simplify your gift giving. If you don’t like to shop, use catalogs or, if you have one, the computer. It saves hundreds of steps and many hours. Better yet, make donations to charities for gifts when and where appropriate.
  • Food and Exercise. Remember to eat nutriciously and to continue with your exercise program. Nothing zaps our energy and spirits more than endless overindulging and giving up on exercise.
  • Rest. Take a nap when you can. I find that even a 10-minute time out with my feet up can revive me for hours.
  • Simplify your meals and support your local talent. There are some great options right in town for precooked yummy and nutritious take out meals. Preorder some of your Holiday meals from places like these or some side dishes for your big entertaining needs to help lighten your load.
  • Smile. I’ve noticed that even when I am feeling the most rushed, harried or stressed that my day improves considerably by being kind and friendly to everyone I meet. And you’ll spread goodwill along the way, passing it on to others, who will pass it along to others and so on, and so on!
  • Stay hydrated. Take a bottle of water with you in your car as you run errands and when you are busy cooking at home, remember to keep a big glass of water going as you sip your way through the day.
  • Give. It is a proven fact that one of the best ways to get out of our own problems and troubles is to volunteer our time, talents and/or money to those less fortunate. There are hundreds of places and people who need what you have to give. What better time than now to start.


  1. Such a wonderful list! I just came back from a super relaxing cruise and this morning when I was feeling a little stressed about all the holiday "stuff" I need to do, I went through the list and decided on those things I didn't really need to do at all, that I had just imposed on myself. So now, I am left with choices. If I want to bake lots of cookies, I can. If I don't feel like it, I don't have to. Choice is a great thing!! I love this time and with your help, I'll stay centered and have fun!! Love, Silke

  2. Oh the expectations we place upon ourselves and how important we make ourselves.
    That was such a big realization, that what I did from obligation, duty, looking good made me tired and was always received as less important than simple things done from the heart.
    Oh the ego knows how to flog me to death, yet the heart knows how to give simply and without exhausting me.
    Funny that and very good to remember this time of year.
    Have a great loving time Diantha, I will too.
    Love Wilma

  3. Silke, ooooo, a cruise! Sounds like a great pre Holiday idea! And yes, aren't we lucky to have choices! I did not realize when I was younger that these things WERE choices. It felt like things I had to do to be a good Mom/friend/neighbor/daughter etc. Imagine the freedom I felt when I finally woke up!

    Wilma, you are so right. "Oh the ego knows how to flog me to death, but the heart knows how to give simply and without exhausting me"...brilliant. If we all lived from our hearts I think all the world's problems would disappear.....Enjoy your "great loving time" and I will too! xo

  4. A fantastic list Diantha.
    The last one - Give - I feel is the most important. If we are able to do that every day, life is a breeze!

  5. Thanks, Peggy, for your wise comment here! Giving sure turns things around for the better doesn't it!

  6. Excellent suggestions.

    My...I was almost in tears just reading all the things you used to do to prepare for Christmas. Yikes!

  7. Great reminders. I think all of us can pick out one or two that we need to work on. I have a two-week vacation coming up where I'm just going to be home, and I've decided to de-frag my house. I think that will be very "cleansing" - listen to music, brew some tea, throw a bunch of stuff in the Goodwill box or the trailer for the dump. Discover long lost things. Ahhhhh. Little things make me happy. : )

  8. Carolynn, I know. It was totally INSANE! Thank goodness I "woke up"!

    Anne, sounds just wonderful! Enjoy your time off!

  9. Some great advice. What I read in most is to be present and simplify. I like that. Happy Holidays, Diantha.

  10. Well, Mermaid, you got it! Be present and simplify. I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort in writing this article if I had listened to you first! Brilliant! Happy Holidays to you as well! xo

  11. Diantha,
    I must say I am pretty proud of myself. I used to be a Patty Perfectionist when it came to the holidays. Now I really do the things you list above and I am so much happier and healthier. Thanks for these wise reminders. We do NOT have to be it all and do it all! May your holidays be restful, enjoyable and deeply meaningful. Love to you!

  12. Jan, your response makes me giggle as we are two peas in a pod on this one! I don't remember exactly when I woke up and realized I don't have to be and do all to have a wonderful Christmas. In fact the opposite is true...the more I let go of, the more I enjoy it and the more I am freed up to do really meaningful things like make donations of all kinds and help my neighbors. In fact, I am off right now to drive one of my neighbors into town. She cannot see well and does not drive, and since I am not making batches of cookies (none actually!) or any Gingerbread houses etc., I can take the time to drive her in, help her with errands, and drive her where she needs to go. AHHHHHH....FREEDOM!

  13. Oh such wisdom for the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season. I've learned to not place attachment on outcomes. I put forth my best and always from the heart but I've let go of the attachment I used to have to the outcome. The Joy is in the doing and giving, and that remains my focus. I cannot control nor perceive anyone's action or reaction so.. once I let go of that expectation, things are a lot Happier!! and much less stressful. May the Peace, Love, Hope and Joy of the Season fill your hearts and lives now and always. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

  14. Nina, letting go of attachment to outcomes is huge! And such a relief! It opens the door, then to the "joy of doing and giving" as you so wisely wrote! Thank you for sharing your experiences around holiday pressures. You are indeed a wise woman! xo


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