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