10 Ways to Cut Festive Stress and Enjoy a Conscious Holiday Season

December 9th, 2020

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” – and it can be. Most of us are fortunate enough to have every reason for happiness during the festive period, with no real, major crisis factors to face – we can eat, we have a roof over our heads, we have love or companionship. And yet more than 60% of us report elevated or somewhat elevated levels of stress during the holiday periods – most of it self-inflicted.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to help curb your festive stress, so that you can have a happy, mindful, conscious holiday which truly does feel like a celebration.

1 – Have a Green Christmas

Being environmentally conscious during the holiday period is becoming easier and simpler every year. From shopping ethically or creating your own handmade gifts to committing to a reduction in single use plastic this Christmas, there is a lot you can do to celebrate in a green and ethical manner. Shop less, or not at all. Choose carefully and with love. Do not spend money you cannot afford. Make ethical choices your top priority if you want to enjoy a conscious Christmas.

2 – The Season of Goodwill

It would be lovely if we were all kind to each other, all of the time. Humans being humans, this is a big ask – but the holiday period is widely acknowledged to a season of goodwill and kindness towards our fellow men and women, and animals. Make a conscious choice to give people around you the benefit of the doubt, whether that’s your own family, your colleagues or strangers you meet. Be kind. Speak to and deal with others the way you would wish to be spoken to or dealt with. None of us are total angels, but for a few weeks, surely it’s not too difficult.

Having said that, if you are unlucky enough to have poisonous people in your family, you may want to think about how to survive toxic family members this Christmas.

3 – Ditch the Timetable

Christmas and other holidays can easily turn into a daunting workload, and that workload tends to come with immovable deadlines and schedules. But who really enforces them? Only you. Don’t be a slave to the clock. Does it really matter if the house isn’t fully decorated by such and such a day? Does it matter if you eat your festive dinner a few hours later than planned? Does it matter if instead of going for your planned walk you stay at home and chill out instead? Promise yourself that you will accept – no, embrace – spontaneity, and that it’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go according to plan.

4 – You Are Not Responsible for Other People’s Happiness

There’s huge psychological pressure on people to be ‘happy’ during the festive season. Do people a favor, particularly those you love, and don’t force them to put on fake jolliness if they don’t feel like it. You are not responsible if someone else is not happy. You’ve done everything you can to create a lovely holiday period – beyond a certain point, the rest is up to them and their brain chemistry. Not everyone will be or can be happy. Just love them.

5 – It’s Not All About Others Anyway

If you’re stressed out about the holidays, it’s probably because of other people’s expectations of you (or what you believe are their expectations – if you asked, you might be pleasantly surprised!) But this festive period of the year isn’t only about other people, it’s also about you. Ensure that you get some time to yourself, just doing what you want to do. You being stressed, exhausted and resentful does not make for much of a merry Christmas for your loved ones, so don’t kid yourself that you have to keep on wearing yourself out. Your family would rather have a few fewer side dishes and a happier companion.

6 – Focus on Your Motives

Some of Christmas and holiday prep can be downright boring. Remember, you don’t HAVE to do it at all, but if you still want to or feel that you need to, even the boring chores can be infused with love, joy and peace if you focus on your motives for doing them while you’re doing them.

7 – Give the Gift of Your Time

The most valuable holiday gifts are often not the ones you buy or can wrap. Consider your time and company to be the most valuable gifts of all and spend these gifts wisely on the people you love the most. An in-person visit to a distant relative or a lonely neighbour is worth far more than any gift card or hastily purchased item.

8 – Give to Your Community

Although it’s not about pleasing others, as I covered in #5, it is about goodwill, as mentioned in #2. Do try to do something for your community, whether it’s fundraising of some kind, volunteering in some capacity or simply befriending someone who you know is lonely and vulnerable. Beyond the consumerism and the trappings of who gets what, your soul will thank you for making a meaningful contribution to someone else’s life, just because.

9 – Gratitude Matters

At this time of year perhaps beyond all others, we have so much to be grateful for. Even if you are struggling, with health, with money, with love, you still have blessings – too many of them to count. This is the ideal time to start a gratitude journal, or a daily spiritual practice of some other kind which enables you to feel how blessed you are.

10 – Seek Stillness

As well as being busy, the holiday season can be noisy, jostling, jarring, frenetic and crazy. Make a point of consciously seeking stillness and/or solitude every day. You may find it on a solitary walk, or you may find it sat in your car for an extra five minutes before getting out and going indoors. You may find it in the bath, listening to birds in your backyard or watching the stars. You may even find it amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, if you turn your thoughts inwards and just sit in peace while the world turns around you. When you find it, grab it, hold it and cherish it. Ultimately, it’s this stillness more than anything else in this list, which will restore your soul, your wellness and your sanity this festive season and beyond.

About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World.


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