© 2021 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved. http://www.kebba.com
–A version of this article appeared on our Upbeat Spiritual Living blog in November 2017.–
In the USA, “The Holidays” now means the entire season from before Halloween to after Christmas and New Year’s Day. This season sweeps through Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, HumanLight, and Ramadan, with Boxing Day on December 26th. This year, The Holidays seemed to start before Halloween: I saw my first red- and green-labeled carton of eggnog around October 25. Then Hanukkah begins Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday November 28th! We are now in the peak frenzy of The Holidays, with Christmas only 42 days away.
In this country’s popular culture, The Holidays are supposed to be a happy, bustling time when people love to buy gifts, decorate seasonally, have large gatherings, play and sing seasonal music, go to church, and eat and drink copious quantities of rich and sweet foods. Yet many feel mildly stressed, bluesy, or even totally stressed during this time! If you are one of those who get stressed, these tips are for you.
First, simplify, and select how you will spend your energy. It’s important to realize The Holiday Season now reaches over almost a 3-month period, so you need a strategy other than trying to ignore it. So write down everything you usually expect from yourself, such as:
o Buy seasonal candy
o Put it in seasonal candy dishes in home and office
o Buy cards and mail
o Play holiday music in your home, go caroling with a group
o Buy gifts for 10 relatives and wrap, take or ship
o Attend 4 parties with special appetizers you make
o Attend 3 holiday concerts or dance performances
o Attend 2 on-holiday family dinners
o Go to church services wearing red and your happiest face
o Go to a sing-along of The Messiah and sing your heart out
o Take the kids for a carriage ride around Kierland or Central Park, or to a Disneyland event, depending on your area
o Take holiday photos
o Post all those activities on FaceBook and Instagram
o Help feed the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army on Christmas Day
o Buy larger pants in New Year’s sales.
Whew! Did you feel energized, or did you feel tired and worn after reading this expectations list? Now that you have written it all down, try cutting those expectations and events by two thirds. Now order the gifts and have them shipped. Use a card service to get the cards out, or email your good wishes, or skip the cards altogether this year. Take the photos with your phone or your kid’s phone, and post them and your holiday wishes on Instagram and Facebook. Play only music YOU have chosen. Don’t let the TV run, with the constant messages of “Buy! Buy! Buy!”
Second, take timeouts. Even if you cut to one third your expectations of yourself, there is a lot of busy activity around you, wherever you go. It’s a very stimulating time of year, and now it’s a quarter of the year. It’s like the anti-vacation! So you need microvacations to see you through.
o Take quiet moments in a still area of your home.
o Exhale and drop your shoulders, imagining quiet energy moving from your head down to your toes; picture your body’s cells holding onto that quiet.
o If you enjoy praying or sitting in contemplation, take time for those regularly, giving them your full attention.
o If you like to read fiction, take two hours at a time to get totally involved in a good novel.
o Practice totally letting go of the hustle and bustle around you. Nurture your Peace Within.
Third, give your body extra support. Drink extra water between holiday beverages. Eat salads, fresh fruit, and lean protein. These will strengthen you between sweet and rich holiday meals. Add ginger to your chicken soup to counter the effects of sugar. If you can nap, take naps. Different lengths of naps work for different people, but research has shown that naps as short as 20 minutes can totally refresh you. Create time to walk, hike, or work out, to flush the toxins and clear your mind.
Fourth, enjoy what nurtures you. Are your spiritual values getting towed under during The Holidays? Whatever there is about The Holidays that fills you, uplifts you, or restores you, keep those pieces. If spending a day with Grandma makes you feel great, be sure to spend a day with Grandma. If video chatting with your niece or grandchild leaves you joyful all day, make time to be fully present for that. If the Messiah Sing-Along thrills you, go! If walking alone in the labyrinth, or attending Midnight Mass, or journaling, or practicing your guitar, leaves you feeling calm and happy, make those priorities.
Take these tips to heart, and you will beat stress during The Holidays. Remember, it’s your life, and you are always at choice. Will you choose to take care of yourself during this season? You are a precious child of God, and you deserve to enjoy the true gifts of this season. And that’s you, choosing to be Healthy Happy and Loving Lifesm!
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert, holistic healer, and award-winning author who celebrates life. She has a longtime natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. Among her books are: Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and Inspire, and Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. The books are available on Amazon and through Kebba’s office. To email us, firstname.lastname@example.org .