As a wellness and meditation guide, I get swamped around the holidays with clients who feel great all year but lose their peaceful mind during the "happiest time of the year."
Well, it's no surprise, with all that goes on during the holidays, that it's easy to get caught up in stress, anxiety overwhelmingness of the season. Not to mention, sometimes the people we love the most also happen to be experts at pushing our buttons. Add late nights baking cookies to give to friends and long lines in overheated department stores to that equation and even the most enlightened among us can experience a minor (or major) meltdown.
Here are three of my secret tools to staying in my highest self and maintaining my bliss through out the entire holiday celebration:
1. Change your perspective.
One of my gurus, Gurmukh, once told me how to transform stress instantly. Want to know how? Rephrase it! Our words are powerful because they define our perspective. Instead of saying, "I'm so stressed out right now," say, "This situation is challenging me right now."
When we look at "stress" as what it truly is, a circumstance that's pushing us to grow, that's challenging us in some way, our entire perspective around it changes. All of a sudden there is growth and even a little fun in realizing that two hour long wait to buy your 3-year-old nephew a present is not meant to stress you out, it's meant to challenge you. Can you find joy in being online? Can you laugh at that relative instead of getting offended? How can you up your game this holiday season? Let any potential stress be flipped into a call for you to rise up, show up and overcome with love.
2. Know where your power lies.
When we try to seek power outside of ourselves, that is when we are met with disappointment and frustration. We need to know where our power lies, and that's within us. You can't use your power to change other people — you don't have power in their territory. When you realize that it's not the store, the relative, the work Christmas party that needs to be changed but rather your internal environment, suddenly you gain back your power. Standing in your power is taking care of yourself.
This looks like giving yourself enough relax and recharge time during busy weeks, having a daily meditation practice and checking in with yourself about how to see a situation differently. Once we realize the answer is not out there, we come to find out we've had it all along. So maybe it's not aunt Hilda that needs to stop making jokes about your job (you have no power there) the power you do have is how you react to it, how much you let it effect you or if you let it roll off your shoulder.
3. Remember your intention.
Ah, how often we forget that the main intention of the entire holiday season: LOVE! The holidays are about spending time with people you love, sharing food with people you love, giving gifts to loved ones and being overall joyous and blissful. The holidays are NOT about spending tons of money, feeling overstretched because you need to go to every party you're invited to, worrying about gaining ten pounds because of all the food that's around or getting anxiety over baking cookies or buying presents.
So, whenever you find yourself going down the negative thought rabbit hole, take a minute, and check your intention. If you're intention for whatever action is to spread love, than refocus on that, if you're intention is anything other than based in love, stop what you're doing and reassess. If you find yourself buying gifts that are overly expensive so that you can show off your new job to your friends and family, that's not based in love. If you find yourself going to holiday parties because you feel like you have to show face, that's not love.
It's this simple awareness that can help guide us toward the activities and situations that will make our holidays the blissfully magical time they're meant to be and away from anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
Take those tools with you this season and bring them out whenever you need some instant zen!