Self-Nurturing: The Key to Holiday Harmony

By Amy Leigh Mercree

For many of us, snow is falling and holiday cheer abounds, but what do you do if the season of celebration leaves you feeling flat and empty? Does the thought of more small talk at parties, and finding a New Year’s Eve date make you cringe and want to hibernate? You’re not alone! If you asked your friends their real feelings about this season some people would express emotions of obligation and wariness at the busy schedule, often imposed by well-meaning family and friends.

So how can we find a balance this season and give ourselves the message that we are worth having an enjoyable, joyful, relaxing time – and also take action to make that happen? A few simple changes in thinking and a couple self-nurturing actions will make a massive difference in your experience of the holidays.

First, ask yourself, “What does the holiday season mean to me?” Really delve into that. It might mean time off from work where you want to relax and have fun. It might signify spiritual renewal or have poignant religious significance for you.

Next ask yourself, “What holiday rituals are fun and meaningful for me?” This could be when just your immediate family lights the menorah together or decorates the tree. It could also be the couple hours you set aside to go surfing before family celebrations begin. Look at what part of those experiences really fuels you and prioritize that in your plans.

Lastly, ask yourself, “What do I wish I could do?” Go to Tahiti? Hibernate in a bubble bath with a romance series? Play touch football with my most relaxed friends? Go out for sushi? While you might not have the time or money for a Tahiti trip this year, you could set that as a five- or 10-year goal, and you could certainly carve out the time for bubble baths, a football game or sushi if you made your enjoyment a priority.

Why should your enjoyment a priority? Because you are an amazing, sacred, beautiful treasure just as you are!  And you matter. 

You must be the one to assert your importance in your life. It is important that you have fun. It is important that you are rejuvenated. It is important you get to relax this season if that is what you need.

Dating and Love
Everyone wants to throw dating in the mix at holiday time. You will see messages all over the media this season of mistletoe, romantic snow covered moments, and the mythical kiss at the stroke of midnight from fairy tales being enacted on New Year’s Eve. The reality of holiday time is many people are harried and rushed and trying to find meaning amid a storm of consumerism. So what if you just choose to be open to the heart energy that does get stoked at this time of year? What if you just let that flame warm you and allowed life to bring you whatever is for your highest good? How would that feel? Would that ease a pressure within?

If family members ask you about your love life, what if you said, “I am blissfully in love with myself, thank you for asking,” with a huge smile on your face?

Here is my “Survival Kit For the Holidays.” Do these things and you will be relaxed, centered, and happy this season!

1)  Be kind. Firstly, to yourself. No negative self-talk, no admonishments for forgetting to send out cards. Just kindness in everything you say to yourself. And be kind to others 100-percent of the time  Even when you are in the slowest line on the planet at the grocery store, practice serenity and be kind to the cashier instead of impatient and grouchy.

2)  Open your heart to love. And that is it. Have no expectation about dates and such this time of year. Just give yourself a pass. Simply open your heart to the love from your nieces, nephews, pets, friends and grandma, and focus relentlessly on that love.  Share your love. Say, “I love you,” to every family member and friend this season and deliver the words with a big hug and watch people soften and tension ease before your eyes.

3)  Create and uphold at least two self-nurturing rituals on crucial days in your season.  For example, for many years I have had a delicious Christmas morning breakfast in bed. When I was single, I would get up and make my waffles with berries and cream, and then bring them back to bed on a pretty tray that morning before turning the ringer on the phone back on. Now that I’m married I do the same thing, but my husband gets to enjoy the breakfast in bed too! You could have a favorite Christmas movie you wrap presents to on Christmas Eve while enjoying hot chocolate after giving yourself a peppermint oil foot massage. Or a home spa day on December 26th that is non-negotiable. You get the idea!

You have the power to nurture yourself, care for yourself, and through that focus, open your heart to real love. Then you will find yourself spiritually dating!

Happy season of self nurturing!

Amy Leigh Mercree is the author of “The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex, & Soul Mates,” a Spiritual Dating & Relationship Coach, and a Medical Intuitive. For more fun articles and her dating advice column visit her blog and


Handling Holiday Stress

It never fails. We enter the holiday season with the intention of enjoying it – whether it’s shopping, decorating the house, baking, or simply spending time with family. But somehow stress still seems to creep in and destroy our peaceful plans! Sadly, many people don’t even go into the season expecting it to be fun based on past years filled with drama, chaos and turmoil.

Many rush to get gift shopping done because they feel overwhelmed by the number of people on their list – or fight to get the best sales and end up pepper-sprayed (one woman’s weapon of choice on this year’s Black Friday). Or they vow not to fight with family members, but then hot buttons get pushed and emotions erupt at the holiday table.

This time of year also causes us to remember those loved ones who have passed to “the other side,” and that not only adds stress, but often pain and grief. My mother left this physical world three days after Christmas in 1999 from a sudden brain aneurysm when I was only 22 years old, and although I know she is with us in spirit (and always sends signs, like the dining room lights going out during Chirstmas dinner when the only way to do that is to physically turn the dimmer switch!), there is still a hole in my heart and a seat missing at the table each year.

What if we could break that pattern of panic, stress and craziness that often consumes our holiday season, and replace it with peace, serenity and enjoyment? This in my plan this year, and I would love for you to join me!

Try some of these tips to keep you centered and calm this season – (instead of praying for New Year’s Day to come so it will all be over!)

1. Make a Vow to Get Quiet Twice Each Day. Even if it’s for only 10 minutes, five in the morning and five before you go to bed, make the time to center yourself, focus on your breath (or repeat a mantra if that’s your practice). You will find you can handle the excitement and unexpected happenings throughout the day (and holiday season) much better this way!

2. Make a list and check it twice! Combat the chaos in your mind by putting it down onto paper! Grab a pen and make a list of what you need to accomplish, whether it’s buying gifts, wrapping them, or baking cookies for this year’s swap. Also, print out a calendar of the month and mark off days for the different tasks ahead of time. As you check each item off, the feeling of accomplishment, and knowing you are closer to the end goal will keep you on track!

3. Stick to a Budget. Create a budget you can afford to spend on gifts, food, etc. this year, and stick to it. This way, when the season is over, so are the bills! (Check out some of our affordable gift picks this year, and enter to win one).

4. Don’t Forget to Give. No matter what holiday you celebrate, giving is the most important part. And it’s not the amount of money you spend, or how many presents you buy – it’s about giving of yourself. Sign up to serve food at your local shelter, donate to the local food pantry, or wrap a few gifts for children in need this year. If you have children, ask them to donate some of their toys to children who don’t have many of their own, or add a toy to the gift list for Toys for Tots this year. (Elevated Existence staff will be working to wrap presents where the proceeds go to the local women’s shelter). These are the gifts that come from the soul and not the ego.

5. Follow Don Miguel Ruiz. This holiday season, when it comes to spending time with difficult family members or friends, remember the Four Agreements: “Be impeccable with your word” because you only have control over what you say, and not what others say to you. Let your words come from love. “Don’t take anything personally” because nothing anyone says or does has anything to do with you – it’s about them! “Don’t make assumptions.” This alone can help avoid misunderstandings and drama. And “Always do your best.” All you can do is strive to do your best each moment!

This year, don’t get caught up in the drama of it all! Set your intention to enjoy the holidays, and know in your heart that you will achieve that goal!

Blessings and love!

Tammy Mastroberte
Founder, Publisher & Editorial Director
Elevated Existence Magazine