5 ways to survive the holidays


5 ways to survive the holidays

Holiday season is upon us and we Australians get a pretty great deal at this time of year, the warmer weather fires us up energetically so that we can make the most of the silly season whilst we reach our energetic peak for the year. However, whilst the celebrations of this time are fun for most, they can also be a time of high drama and anxiety!

What we can forget amidst the chaos of the holiday season is that we are actually in control of how much energy is expended and where. Often the overwhelm and anxiety we experience at this time is self-inflicted because of our own expectations of ourselves to show-up socially, for family and to keep up with the Jones’s who’s front yard display lighting display has tripled in size this year!

Holidays do not have to be stressful. If we can remain conscious and mindful we can change the way we show up. We can release expectation and make it a truly meaningful time spent being present with those we spend time with.

Here are some things you can do to save yourself the drama this year.

1) Let go of expectations
There’s a strong possibility that your family gathering will not go smoothly. Inevitably buttons will be pushed all around the dinner table, it’s next to impossible to gather with the people you spent your life with, without triggering old patterns and behaviours. Whilst you may have done alot of work on yourself over the past year don’t expect your family or friends to take much interest in the new you. For many spending time with family is the biggest test of our resolve. Expect the unexpected.
I have a teacher, a buddhist monk who dreads returning home for the holidays based on family triggers, if he has trouble maintaining inner peace at this time it’s safe to say that most of us will too.

2) Don’t overextend yourself
Unless you enjoy post holiday anxiety don’t go overboard with presents, travel expenses, decorations etc. Overspending can lead to post holiday depression (when the bills start flowing in) so it’s better to budget wisely and spend modestly. If you’re feeling guilty about lowering your giving then explain to people that you are not overextending yourself this year, the best people will understand.  It’s ok to say ‘no, even at this time of year!
I had a very serious conversation with a 9 year old about the stress involved in buying presents for family members. This year he’ll be giving homemade love cards!

3) Be yourself
Don’t feel obliged to dress in a Santa suit and make merry at every party (unless you like that kind of thing). That creates a lot of undue stress because you assume that you should always be jolly at this time of year (that’s tiring). There is no reason to act falsely cheerful, it is ok to remain neutral.  If someone raises questions about your lack of  their accepted level of ‘enthusiasm’ explain that you’re just being authentic.
I’ve made the personal commitment to be home by ‘Cinderella hour’ from every party this year because I know that I feel better and can maintain my commitment to my own personal wellbeing practices if I don’t stay out long enough to watch the ugly step-sisters try to win over their prince.

4) Don’t make unrealistic resolutions
You’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you decide that the new year will be the best year  ever, that you’ll reach all of your unrealistic fitness, diet and business goals. Aim for one or two things that you truly want to work on to improve your life. Write them down, work out why you want them, how important they are to your life and create a ritual (plan) around those goals and refer to them on a daily basis.
Watch this space … my Happy Life Goals course will launch in the new year.

5) Don’t forget
The holiday season is about reconnecting with friends and family, relaxing and being compassionate and loving towards ourselves and each other. Keep this in mind and allow all your actions to flow from a pace of love rather than expectation.

On that note I’d like to wish you a happy holiday season filled with love and health. What more could you want?




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