The holiday season can bring up many stresses as well as conflicted emotions. Follow these tips to help keep you present and less stressed this holiday. For some people this is the favourite time of the year, for others, it is a time of stress and pressure with extra busy-ness. While it can be a time of great celebration and merry making there can also be some deep grieving, or the unearthing of childhood wounds and patterns triggered by family gatherings. Here are some suggestions to help navigate the next few weeks: 1. Do things in moderation. Plan what parties and functions that you really want to go to. You do not need to show up at them all. It is very easy to drink and eat too much at special events - so everything in moderation. If you know you are going for office drinks after work, order a healthy appetizer as well. As much as possible choose foods that are nourishing. If it is a late night gathering, eat your normal supper before going so that you can moderately eat the hors d’oeuvres. Also you do not need to be the last one to leave the party. Your body and spirit will thank you. 2. Keep to a regular routine. While this may seem odd to suggest when there are so many commitments and functions out there (work or family), it is very important to remember that routine is very grounding. If your routine includes a spiritual practice every morning, do not skip it. It will help set the tone for your day. If you have a regular workout time, honour it. It is very important to look after your self care. If you have a regular volunteer day, keep your schedule with it. Stick to your normal diet as much as you can. Go to sleep and wake at the same time as much as possible. Bodies like rhythm, honour your body. 3. Stay connected with the people who lift you up. You do not need to be alone nor do you need to be around people who are toxic to you. Make sure that you take the time to connect with the people who value you. These are earth angels. They will ground you. Remember to ask for support if you need it. 4. Eliminate the “should of” “need to”phrases. Also on the list to eliminate: I have to. This leads to unnecessary guilt. Remove those phrases from your vocabulary. You are a person with free will and choice. Do not place unrealistic expectations on yourself. A lot of our extra stresses are actually self imposed. If you feel obligated about doing certain things, ask yourself why? Then empower yourself to make a different choice and to take a different action. Try not to over analyze things, perhaps it is something as simple as having a date with yourself to do something that you really want to do, or something completely different. 5. Be with people if you tend to find yourself alone. (and don’t want to be) If you find that you are usually alone for the holiday, try to volunteer somewhere. There are many people who are alone - some because they want to be, but some because they are truly feeling alone and unable to change their situation. Volunteer in a facility for the elderly, or check out your local community centre or library for holiday programs. Sometimes you need to be outside of yourself in order to feel better about yourself. But more importantly, the opportunity to make a new friend or bring a smile to a neighbour is rewarding in itself and will do much to lift your spirits and self worth. You may discover a gift within yourself that you never knew that you had. Generally speaking take the time to be good to yourself. Do what feels good . Take the time for self care. Set your boundaries, you are allowed to say no when asked to do more than you can. Remember to ask for and accept help when you need it. Stay in the present moment. It is easier to see the beauty and gift of the experience if you are looking after yourself first. Try these suggestions and let me know how they work for you! If you have other ideas to share on what helps you please comment below.