Today I am bringing to you an article wrapped around allowing you to have more joy and less stress this Christmas, as my theme for the month of December is peace. When we have less stress, we can open ourselves up to feeling more peace.
The holiday times are very exciting for the children in our lives, they can be very exciting for adults, and then they can also be very stressful for adults. My answer to that is to simply consider planning. Now some people might think well, that’s too structured, I don’t want to plan but here’s the thing, you’ve heard this before, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan.
When we fail to plan, it allows significantly more stress to come into our lives. We find ourselves scrambling to pull it all together at the 11th hour. When we plan it gives us structure, however that doesn’t mean you’re tied up in chains and confined and you can only live by what’s been planned and that you’re restricted, and you feel like you can’t just relax and enjoy the moment, it doesn’t mean that at all. It does, however, give you structure to fall back on, and to utilize as needed to allow yourselves to move through this busy holiday season with much more flow and ease. I think that’s what everybody wants.
Holiday Tip 1: Say Yes to Yourself and No to Others More Often
So, let’s just start out with something that I love to share and very often is an ah-ha for many people. My first tip is to start saying ‘yes’ to yourself and ‘no’ to others more often. We very often use those words backwards. When we say ‘yes’ to others, in the moment of saying yes that we will do something for them such as you will attend their event, etc, we are actually saying ‘no’ to ourselves.
This time of year, there are so many things on our calendar from family invitations to invitations from friends, there’s the work parties, the cocktail parties, and Christmas parties. When my kids were in school, we had the school holiday concerts, and letter writing to Santa, and so many other events.
There’s all this extra stuff coming into your calendar. When you say yes to everything, you are going to feel stressed, you are going to feel exhausted. But if you start to choose what really matters to “me” and saying ‘yes’ to those things and saying ‘no’ to others, you’re going to be able to weed out some of the events and give yourself more space in your calendar. It is okay to say no to others.
What if you feel like you cannot say ‘no’? How do you respond? For instance, you feel you cannot say no because it’s a family event and you feel that you must go. You can say, “you know I’m back-to-back that day. I’m sorry, I can’t be there from the start to the end, but I’ll be arriving late, or I have to leave early because I have somewhere else, I need to be.” Whether or not you have to be somewhere else doesn’t matter. It gives you the out so that you’re not at this event for hours. Maybe you’re only there for one hour! Well, you showed up and you saw some people and then you were able to leave and give yourself time to maybe go unwind, get in an Epsom salt bath, and relax before getting yourself into bed. So really think about that. That it’s okay. It is absolutely okay – give yourself permission to say ‘yes’ to yourself and say ‘no’ to others.
It’s not always easy to do, especially if you’ve never done it before, your brain will wonder what you’re doing. It’ll be like, “why are you saying no?”, even as you’re saying no, and encourage you to say, yes. I’ve been there, I have experienced that. I also had the frontal cortex of my brain saying, “No, no, you’re saying no, for a reason, and that reason is because you’re saying yes to yourself.” That spoke to me more loudly than the back of my brain going, “Why are you saying no, you never say no.”
That allowed me to start practicing saying ‘no’ to others, so I could be more protective of my time. We all have the same amount of time, and we can’t get more time, we say we’d love to have, 28 hours in the day, but we know that’s never going to happen. We must be more protective of the time that we do have. By saying ‘no’ to others, and ‘yes’ to ourselves, we are absolutely doing that.
Holiday Tip 2: Planning Your Meals
What else can we be doing to create more joy and less stress this holiday season?
Well, start planning your meals. You know, when you’re having family over, or when you might be having a holiday party for friends. Plan those meals, plan your shopping list, so that you can get to the store, get what you need, and get out or even order online. Have it delivered or pick it up. This way you’re allowing the system to work for you, you don’t even have to go to the store.
We know how busy the stores are at this time of year! Everybody’s out shopping, we also know how busy it can be in the parking lots and driving, all that takes up your time. How can you reduce the time that it takes? You can reduce your stress, by having the food delivered.
Holiday Tip 3: Saving Time Shopping
You also plan on the best days and times to visit the malls. During the holiday season in December, even late November it can get really crowded. You can plan to visit the mall as soon as it opens, or go on a weekday, take a day off work, and work on the weekend if you need to. There’s going to be less people, right when the mall opens, and on a weekday, and plan what stores you’re going to visit.
When you know certain gifts, that you’re picking up for people, and you know what stores they’re in, you can plan how you’re going to do that in the most economical ways so that you’re not walking back and forth back and forth from one end of the mall to the other. That’s a lot of wasted time, although it might be good exercise! Right now though, time is more important, so I like to plan to do it in a sensible order. I’m sure you’re still going to get your steps in that day.
After you have gotten all your gifts and errands run then, you can allow yourself some time to browse and look around. You may just find something for that someone on your list that you didn’t really know what to get them. You’re looking for inspiration. I would like to suggest bookstores as they can be amazing places of inspiration for people. Head over there, that’s where I always go whether it’s buying someone a beautiful journal, or it’s buying a game, or it’s buying a fuzzy, warm blanket that somebody can wrap them up selves up in, or a candle or a coffee mug. Bookstores have so much more than just books and yes, books are wonderful gifts as well. I love buying books. I also love buying calendars for people too! You can get a lot of ideas in one store like that instead of having to go to five or six different stores looking for ideas. That’s how I navigate the mall. I find it to be a much more efficient and therefore much less stressful way to do my Christmas shopping.
I was doing a little bit of online shopping yesterday too. I do more online shopping now to save time. You can do that anytime. Ideally, you will want to be doing your gift shopping for birthdays, for Christmas etc. throughout the year, don’t wait and leave it all until the last minute because again, that puts a lot of pressure on you.
However, if you haven’t done that for this year, and you still must do all of your Christmas shopping, hopefully these tips will help you as it will lower your stress significantly. If you’re shopping from home, play some Christmas music, or listen to some relaxing music, while you’re searching for what you need and then placing your order. By not having to go into the masses that are in the mall, with all the pushing and shoving that happens, you are reducing your stress levels.
Holiday Tip 4: Plan Your Self-Care
Another recommendation is to plan your self-care. You need to look after yourself, and you need to look after yourself first! I say this on a regular basis to my listeners and readers of my blog, and I will continue to say it because it’s so important. “Self-Care is the most selfless act as it allows you to show up and give the world the best of you instead of what’s left of you”. Don’t you want to do that? You want to show up and give your loved ones the best of you. You don’t want to be taking out your irritation on them. Yet, that tends to be what happens when we are stressed and depleted of energy. We can counter that stress and energy depletion by looking after ourselves first.
- What is that for you?
- What do you truly enjoy?
- What do you do, and you just lose track of time?
- What do you do that just makes you feel better, more energized when you’ve finished doing that thing.
There are so many options to self-care. It’s different for every single one of us. Some people think self-care is just treating themselves to a massage once a month. However, self-care is much more than that and something that we can do every single day. We can do it in 15-minute increments to start, especially on busy days if we don’t have time. We can build up to creating more time in our calendar for self-care. When we truly do care for ourselves, we sleep better, we feel less stressed, we are therefore more focused. We can get more done in our day, which allows us more time for self-care.
Some of my favorite things for self-care are:
- An Epsom salt bath at the end of the day
- Reading a book is a great way for me to chill out, leave the world behind and immerse myself in the story.
- Going for walks in nature. But sometimes it’s just a matter of getting fresh air and getting outside and walking around the block.
- Putting on favorite tunes and dancing around the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner and just enjoying that and having fun with it.
There are so many ways for self-care for me. I mean, I live in nature. I have a lot of access to nature, in the summer it’s paddle boarding, in the winter it’s skiing, but what is it for you? It could be calling a friend. Just having a wonderful conversation catching up with a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. It could be cuddling with your kids, your pets, your spouse, it could be, you know, curling up in front of a fire and watching a movie. That’s obviously a bigger commitment than just something that’s 15 minutes though!
You could also take 15 minutes to just meditate, stretch your body, listen to some binaural beats to just calm your mind and nervous system, go outside and just stand in your garden and face up to the sun and let the sun shine on your face with your eyes closed. Just that alone starts to calm the nervous system. There’s many, many options for self-care. Figure out what it is that you enjoy and build that in in 15-minute increments in your day. Make sure that you’re doing that every day through the month of December, because as you do that, you will notice that your nervous system calms down and that you start to feel better, so you are much less irritable, the feeling like you’re ready to snap at the slightest thing that goes wrong or messes with your schedule or traffic delays, et cetera, goes away. You’ll be able to move through the season with more ease and flow.
Holiday Tip 5: Planning Family Events
Another tip that’s super important is planning family events. Family is one of those things where we don’t get to choose our family, right. Many people have fabulous families, and they love everyone in their family. Then there’s other people that come from, more difficult families, and they struggle with certain personalities in their family, so getting together at holiday events can be difficult for some people. If that’s you, again, you want to be planning those events. For instance, If there’s more than one event, plan to make it to the one you really want to go to, and then let others know you can’t make it to the other one.
When it’s just one event, and it’s you know, several hours long, perhaps you don’t want to be there the whole time. Again, you can say “I’m going to arrive late because of this, this and this” or “I will come here, but I need to leave early because of this reason”. This way you’re giving yourself that leeway to spend less time in an environment where it can be very stressful to have to put up with personalities that you aren’t jiving with.
There is something else that I want to share with you that can be very beneficial. This is the idea of putting on your love bra or love cape. If you’re female, you’re going to put on your red love bra. And if you’re male, you’re going to put on your red love cape. Whether you are donning a bra or donning your cape, for this family event where you struggle with different personalities, you are doing this remind you that you only let love in and it only let’s love out. It’s like a shield. This way no matter what someone says to you, it doesn’t have to come past that shield, if it isn’t loving, it can be repelled back out. You are only going to let love in and out.
When you take that approach and you’re protected by your love bra so that anything that isn’t loving towards you such as negative comments, negative gestures, feelings are just not going to get inside; they’re just going to repel off the love bra the love cape. By doing this, it allows you to be in a space where you can only let love out as well. That can be very, very beneficial. So if you haven’t heard of that before, and you’re that person that has difficult relatives, and you struggle to go to family events, because you don’t want to have to deal with the attitude of so and so, you can simply wear your love bra or love cape! Protect yourself and go to the event for the limited amount of time that you’ve set up for yourself, by letting them know you’re going to arrive late or you’re going to depart early.
Holiday Tip 6: Planning Your Traveling
If you’re traveling at Christmas time, that’s something else that is very important to plan. Holiday time is always the busiest time of year for traveling. Airports are busier, traffic is busier, and everyone is in a hectic state of mind, and stressed out!
You need to plan ahead in several different areas. For instance – packing – you need to make sure that you’re not leaving the packing to the last minute, and missing sleep because you stayed up all night making sure you are taking everything you need, especially if you need to be at the airport early in the morning! Not getting enough sleep before a travel day is just going to make the travel harder because you’re tired, depleted and stressed. Pack slowly over a few days, make a list for what you need to pack in advance, just sit down and take 10 minutes and just write it all out and then have that list handy. When you think of more things you need to add, you can add them quickly. Creating a list will make packing so much easier as you can just cross everything off as you pack them.
The other thing too, is planning to be at the airport earlier than usual, because of course those security lines are long, the check-in lines are long, etcetera. When you’re there earlier, it doesn’t matter if they’re long, you’re still going to make your flight but if you’re running late and then you’re standing in line waiting to check in, looking at your watch saying to yourself “Am I even going to make my flight?” That’s building up the stress inside your body and it doesn’t feel good. You’re stressed as you go through security still wondering if you’re going to make it to your flight. You get on your flight, and you sit in your seat, and yes you have relief of stress at that point because you made your flight.
However, what if you didn’t make your flight, you’re still stressed because now you’re trying to get on another flight which is really hard to do because all the flights are sold out at Christmas time and now, you’re trying to get somewhere by a certain date you might not be able to – how stressful is that?
Nobody wants that, but I guarantee it happens to people every single holiday season. Don’t let it happen to you! By planning to be at the airport extra early, so that even if there’s long lines, it doesn’t matter. You can stand in them and as you have nothing better to do, read a book while you stand in line. I have books on my phone when I am traveling. I don’t care how long the line takes. When I get through the line and I finally get to my plane, I don’t have that cortisol running through my body, making me feel hopped up.
Holiday Tip 7: Plan Your Sleep
The other thing to think about in terms of achieving more joy, and a less stressful holiday season is to plan your sleep. Now, I know that sounds crazy, but when we get more sleep, we are much more stress resilient, it’s also very good for our health, for several reasons.
I’ve done workshops on getting more sleep and I’ve got courses as well as a few podcasts episodes on “Don’t Wait For Your Wakeup Call” that, if you go back to episodes, five and seven, I specifically talked about the benefits of sleep. Be sure to take time to go back and listen to those episodes.
When you plan your sleep, you are in a much better place to get the sleep that your body needs to be able to cope with stress more efficiently. As adults, we truly do need between seven to nine hours of sleep every single night, if you’re getting sick, you want more work towards the nine-hour range, if you’re not getting sick, and you’re healthy, and you’re doing well and you have good energy, then you can get away with closer to the seven-hour level. However, during the holiday season, there’s so many invitations, so many events going on that there can be a lot of late nights, and that means less sleep.
So, how do you plan your sleep?
Do you already know the nights that you will be up late? Plan on going to bed earlier on the nights that you don’t have anything planned. Turn off your devices earlier. You can get better sleep because of getting off devices and getting into bed sooner. Plan your sleep around the time you must get up the next day, then back that away by at least eight hours so that you’re in bed eight hours before you must get up. Spend the time you’re unwinding by reading a book or writing in a journal etc. so that by the time you fall asleep, you’re going to be guaranteeing yourself seven to seven and a half hours of sleep that night.
Doing this will lead to more joy, less stress, I promise you.
Holiday Tip 8: Watch What You Are Eating and Drinking Over The Holiday Season
What are you eating over the holiday season?
What are you drinking over the holiday season?
These are huge factors too, and what we’re putting into our body is a contributing factor to our stress levels. Our digestive system must deal with whatever we put into our bodies. What we put in our body is feeding ourselves. It’s impacting our hormones, it’s impacting our gut health, it’s impacting everything.
When we’re fueling our body well, we are going to be in a much happier state and our body will be less stressed than if we’re not fueling our body well. Of course, over the holiday season, there’s always desserts and sugars and treats, and if you can be just aware of that, and cut back on the amount of your sugar intake, then you can enjoy the meal. You don’t need dessert every day, choose a salad instead of dessert; if you’re having dessert, maybe you have a little bite sized piece of dessert instead of a huge piece of cake, or multiple desserts. When we’re fueling the body with empty calories that come from sugar, we’re burning through that quickly. That is just not sustainable over the course of the entire holiday season. Our body needs to be fed far more efficiently than that with nutrient dense meals that give the body what it truly needs. On top of that, there’s a lot of drinking that goes on over the holiday season. Yes, it’s a reason to celebrate, and that’s wonderful. However, can you mix that drinking up with say a glass of water or maybe you’re only going to drink two nights this week and the other nights I’m going to go dry, whatever it is for you to allow you to cut back on the drinking so that you’re not consuming so much alcohol over the holidays.
Alcohol does negatively impact your liver. Plus, now you’re drinking your calories, and you’re getting more sugar from all that alcohol. It’s all going to put your body slightly out of balance and have you not feeling your best. If you wake up in the morning with a headache or a hangover you are not feeling your best! You’re not feeling very stress resilient at that time either. You know the kids come in and talk to you or yell because they’re excited about something and it splits your head open and then you’re yelling back at them. That is not a joyful holiday season experience. You can mitigate that by consciously choosing to cut back. You can choose to be the designated driver. Then you have a very valid reason for not drinking or simply don’t drink and if people ask you why you aren’t drinking you can say “You know what I’ve planned out over this holiday season which nights I’m drinking and which nights I’m not so that I don’t overdo it.” A great answer, maybe more people could follow you for having done that. You are going to feel much, much better as a result.
Holiday Tip 10: Detox Come January
And then lastly, come January, you might want to plan a detox. Even though you’re choosing to drink less and avoid sugar, we’re still getting so much in during that time with the socializing that happens. It’s available, it’s everywhere, and sometimes you’re not even aware of it. Plus, hey, if you haven’t done a detox in the last year, five years, 10 years, you’re due for one anyway. I will, of course, be running my Health Kickstart and Detox program, it starts January 10, 2023. I’d love to invite you to it. It’s a great program that will kick your 2023 off on the right foot from a health perspective and give you the learning and the knowledge that you will then have for a lifetime.
I don’t teach this as just one detox and you’re good for life. I teach how we make detoxing a lifestyle, why we need to do it, how we do it, I hold your hand through it, I make it fun. I know you probably thinking detoxing isn’t fun. Truly, I do make it fun. I help get you through negative thinking while coaching you around nutrition and the right way to eat for your unique body.
I also focus on understanding digestion, because you are not just what you eat, but you are what you absorb, is your digestive system turned on when you eat your food are the nutrients getting to the cells that need them? Or is your body and your digestive system not very happy right now and you’re struggling with gas and bloating, constipation, or diarrhea? If so, we need to resolve that, that’s not normal. That’s a sign of an unhappy gut. We can resolve that. I also share with you how not to retox after your detox, because we don’t want to go back to the way things were after we’ve cleaned ourselves up, got all those toxins out and are feeling good because inflammation is down, aches and pains are gone, and mental clarity has improved and we’re sleeping better. Once we’ve achieved all these positive results; we don’t want to go back to the way things were. That’s an important session!
Then I do a session on sugar because even outside the holiday season, it is a problem all year long. I help you learn where sugars are sneaking into your diet, even if you’re trying to be really conscious, and what you can do about that, and other food choices you can be making instead. This is a really great session for everybody to learn.
The course is five weeks long, and I set you up for success on the detox, we talk nutrition, we talk digestion, we talk sugar, and then how not to retox after the detox. This is a fabulous way to start out 2023!
Something else I’m bringing to the table in December and continuing throughout 2023 is I am about to complete my hypnotherapy teacher training, which allows me to teach self-hypnosis as well as train people in hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is a very powerful tool that can help you with motivation, but also coping with stress, coping with family relationships, etc. Coping with the kids and you know, just having some time for some calm in your day, being able to put yourself into a hypnotic trance while you take a little bit of time for yourself. It is another form of self-care that is incredibly powerful, and easy to do. These are tools that I’m offering to help you on your health journey, on your life journey, and creating more joy and less stress, not only during the holidays, but all year long.
If you’d like to know more about that, please reach out and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to wish you a wonderful December filled with peace. Include your planning, it gives you the structure within which you can work without being chained down. It instead leads you to success, the success of having more joy and less stress.
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