Welcome to the holiday season! The most joyous and peaceful time of year. Right?? This is the time of year to celebrate life, spend quality time with loved ones. So why do we get so stressed out? The increased work responsibilities, deadlines, crowded traffic, stores and parking lots, huge lines and lots of other pressures we place on ourselves adds to the already existing stress we carry around.
Depression during the holidays is also a common experience. Holiday blues can be caused by many of these same stressors plus fatigue, lack of sunlight, cold weather, over-commercialization, time and money constraints, family conflict, unrealistic expectations, overeating, and drinking. Unresolved issues related to past losses can also be triggered by the holidays.
The stress is real, yet we can choose how we react to whatever causes us stress. The Mastering Alchemy tools and techniques are designed to return us to peace and well-being. This time of year can be a tough roller coaster ride or a happy celebration of life. It’s really up to you. Although the solutions may sound simple – it isn’t necessarily easy to pivot these strong patterns of unhappiness into new patterns of joy and fun.
Three steps to get from grumpy and miserable to at least “better” and amused.
Step 1 – Become aware of the pickle you’ve gotten yourself into.
Step 2 – Laugh at what you just discovered and the fact you are in this spot again.
Step 3 – Do something (anything) differently. Even if it is just a little baby step.
And most important – Be easy on yourself.
Below are some tricks Mastering Alchemy participants have shared that get them through this season with grace and ease. Post your own secret to staying sane and certain during the holidays. We'd love to hear what works for you.
1- I’ve learned to “Just Say No” to those events that don’t totally turn me on and I am much happier. So is my family. ~ Judy V., Ohio
2- I make sure I get plenty of sleep. If I don’t, I get grouchy and impossible to be around. Sometimes even ill. ~ Betsy D., Hawaii
3- I workout and call in the Rays of Creation while doing my cardio. ~ Ned., Colorado
4- While waiting in lines, traffic or parking lots, I take the time to breathe deeply and rhythmically and I re-establish my grounding cord. ~ Joseph P., Texas
5- I like to write and hide little notes around the house for my family to go on spontaneous “treasure hunts.” The treasures are not big ticket items, just cute, fun surprises I find at the Dollar Store throughout the year. This makes the holiday time filled with laughter and it is easy to do. In fact, now the kids are getting into it. ~ Michelle B., New York
6- I like to give gifts of doing something. Like going skiing with a friend; going on a hike or on a picnic, outdoors or indoors. ~ S. L., California
7- I like to sit down with my family and decide which good cause we want to donate to each year. We have so many choices. Some years we adopt a wild animal. Other years we sponsor a hungry child. This year we will put in a few hours cooking at a homeless shelter and drop off clothing donations to a battered women’s center. This family tradition gives us a lot of joy to know we’re making a difference. It brings us closer together and helps us appreciate the incredible abundance we have. ~ Gregg B., Wisconsin
8- During the stressful holidays, I do my Mastering Alchemy lessons in the hot tub every evening. The falling stars and night flocks of geese remind me of my certainty and the hot water keeps me sane. ~ Lynn J., Nevada
9- If things are not working out the way I think they should, I remind myself that my Higher Self can see farther than I can (sometimes it’s necessary to call a friend so they can remind me of this). ~ Jennifer S., Kentucky
10- If I eat too much stuff that feels bad in my system I plan a cleanse between the holidays. ~ Ellen G., Oregon
11- I allow plenty of time for shopping or driving...however, even when I’m short of time, I find myself purposefully shifting my thoughts to find the delight of it all. ~ D. Swenson, California
12- I don’t have any fond memories around the holidays so I like to take the time to do self-nurturing and celebrating in new ways. Last year, instead of traditional holiday music, I treated myself to the entire collection of Beatle music and spent the holiday with them! ~ Robert B., London
13- Cooking brings me joy and peace so I take advantage of the holidays to be creative. This keeps me sane and focused upon the positive aspects. I indulge in a new, fancy cookbook every year and spend lots of time and money on experimenting with new dishes. I love the adventure. ~ A. Roose, Michigan
14- I need quiet time with just myself. Pleasant smells, pleasant soft sounds and relaxing each part of my body starting with my feet to my scalp. When I’m quiet I can make closer contact with the peace within. ~ Jim B., Texas
15- To stay sane, I have a good cry. I light some candles, turn off all the lights, wrap up in my really soft chenille wrap and watch the movie “Holiday Inn”. Then I play a Christmas Album and stand at the door and look out the window. It makes me cry. I literally cry myself to sleep when I do this ritual. And when I wake up, I have cried out all the poisons from my system. Then I can enjoy the holidays by truly appreciating my family. ~ Judy T., Illinois
16- My stress is relieved by petting my cats and bunny! We all could learn from the animals that life is simple. Just a little “Hello” (as you taught us) can make another’s day. It works on the cats!!! ~ L. Baker, Washington
Next week: How Do You Stay Sane During the Holidays? Part 2