Several people have come to me to deal with the holiday blues and stresses. It’s obvious that some people need to have their common sense refreshed. Others have asked me why I  haven’t blogged about this,  and asked me to offer some support  to deal with the holiday madness. So I’ve responded with the following.

How to escape the holiday stresses, and some million dollar free “gifts” for  refreshing your common sense.

The holidays bring with them all the emotions and mixed feelings that are possible for people to experience. There are those who love the season with all the parties, gift buying and giving, the gathering with family, friends, and co workers to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah and other religious celebrations.  The fact is that most people are busy enough all year-long, often finding it difficult to juggle their responsibilities and stay on top of it all; so  holidays challenge them to their limits of coping with the extra demands the season places on them.

Many people come to me after the holidays complaining, not just about the extra pounds they gained, also from being just plain worn out and run down enough to be getting sick and even  experiencing depression. Then of course the bills come in and anxiety is added to their post holiday stress.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can love the season’s special decorations with sparkling lights spread throughout the cities and neighborhoods… the adornments on the Christmas trees… the lighting of traditional candles… the fun and laughter… the festive atmosphere, food and drink.  Indeed the traditions and the trappings are what it’s all about for many; a lot of people abide by traditions as rules for living never to be questioned, therefore the “Peace to the world and good will to all men” message is lost on them; their pleasure is diminished by the stress of keeping up with it all.

The after math of the holidays isn’t just the let down, after such intense activity: The proverbial anti climax; it results in a feelings of disappointment for many, if it didn’t meet expectations or fulfill wishes; or they are simply exhausted because they succumbed to the internal and external pressures to make it a certain way. People have their “ideal” holiday scenarios, and strive to create them in the real world, not realizing that it isn’t always possible.

Are you one of them?

“Tis the season to be merry,” so the Carole goes, but for all too many it is a sad time, either because of a loss some one close to them, and they feel the loss more profoundly at those times, and/or they are even more lonely than ever because they have no one close to them to share the holiday spirit with. For so many depression is a part of their annual experience, (I recommend some professional help to cope and to feel better) and others cannot afford gifts for their children, or to reciprocate those given to them, and that’s the kind of stress that’s especially painful.

Some of the things I’m about to write are actually simple common sense; you may have thought it all for yourself. So if you are not listening to your wise inner self, please read on for my suggestions to help you go through the holidays with more ease and comfort, with more inner peace and joy and make it a season to remember with a smile on your face.

My Mind Mastery grads already know how to accomplish just about everything in life in a relaxed calm confident easy-going way. For those who have not yet become Mind Masters, I offer herein a few gifts of support for what’s good for you, to be treasured all year-long.

I’ll start with some questions for you to ask yourself. Be honest with your answers for they will be your guide to a more joyful season and help you avoid a negative aftermath. Your answers will help you make sensible decisions.

Before you make any plans stop and think about what is really important to you. What’s the reason you want or feel the need to do something in particular for the holidays? Are you doing it because you have in the past? Are you doing it because others expect it of you?  Can you imagine what it will be like if you don’t do it?  Be true to yourself, and your real values. Maintaining g tradition is a choice. Keep thati mind.

Can I afford this? If I buy these gifts or make this party am I stretching my budget beyond my ability to pay? I know this practical a basic common sense question; however, even ordinarily reasonable people go to extremes in their spending for the holidays. If you are not trying to impress someone, (and if you are, what for?) what are you going into debt for?  Is it worth it? Is this the only way you can express your love and caring  or show your hospitality?   How are you going to feel after the holidays when the bills come in? Is the huge and daunting task of paying for it going to overwhelm you?

Ask yourself:  How can I be more creative in giving from my heart rather than my wallet?

Ask yourself: Do I have time for this activity without putting myself under pressure to do everything else? I.E. Decorating the house, shopping, planning and preparing for a party or the like, or agreeing to attend another party?  How can I manage this without sacrificing other things that are my actual responsibilities, and /or  are they a genuine priority for me? Will the enjoyment be over shadowed by the stress of managing it all?

And the question that is always relevant in all life circumstances, “How important is it in the whole scheme of things?

Once you start to question yourself, other questions will come to mind, about your motives, about what you think and feel and do.  When you begin to rethink many things about how you go about the holidays, you will find yourself searching within yourself for what is really important to you. One question will lead to another, and if you listen quietly within yourself you will hear your subconscious  answering and offering the wise advice that will guide you to do what’s right and best for you.  It will save you from getting caught up in a whirlwind of activities at a huge cost to your health and your pocket-book as well as your genuine values.

I recommend that you pace yourself realistically: Always consider the time and energy you have available to accomplish tasks you have set for yourself. Be careful not to schedule too much in too short a time frame. Allow some flex time, that is, figure it will probably take more time than you planned for… expect the unexpected. Don’t try to squeeze in just one more thing, least of all at the last-minute.

Learn to say “NO” Relax before responding! Some people don’t know how to relax, and if you don’t, at least stop and think about it first. Just as easily as you have said “yes” in the past, you can graciously refuse an invitation or to do a favor. “I’d love to be there, however, I’ve already committed to something else. I do hope you’ll ask me another time.” Or “I wish I could do that for you, however right now I’m just not able to. I hope I can be of help to you another time when you ask me.”  True friends will respect your needs too.

Consider yourself as important as others: Not more, not less. That’s’ not being selfish, its being practical. Taking care of yourself enables you maintain your health so you can to live up to your ideals for caring for others. It’s what I call “a me also philosophy.”

Many people I know got together with family and friends to discuss how they can all celebrate without stress and pressure, and have made their holidays special in different ways. You can too… get with loved ones and talk about how you can express your love and caring i and celebrate inn different ways than in the past, and narrow down the list of expectations by respecting what’s feasible for all concerned. You’ll be surprised how many people are with you about making positive changes.

Some decide, as we have in our family, that Christmas and Hanukkah gift giving is just for children, and so we give only to the little ones in the family.  Some families draw names from a hat. Others just give gift cards and envelopes with cash or checks in them to reduce or eliminate the challenge of choosing the perfect gift and all the shopping required and the wrapping too.  I’ve known people who, with large and small families who decided together that there will be no gift exchanges at all, only time together to reflect on the religious significance of the occasion, and to share an evening by the fireside, or around the Christmas tree or Hanukkah candles. Time together to enjoy sharing happy memories is heart warming: the gift of revivifying the joys of previous times together is an opportunity to create more happy memories; this is a priceless gift so easy to give. Relationships flourish when togetherness is all about what people mean to each other and letting it be known that what they have shared in the past still warms their hearts.The “Remember when….? that evokes happy memories, laughter and your are creating new happy memories as you recall the old.

If someone is disappointed or disheartened by the changes you suggest, or resist an adjustment you want to make, or the creation of new tradition feels uncomfortable for them, remind them that it is not a loss, it is a blessing.  Help them understand that we create the meaning of tradition,  we can create new traditions just as meaningful, and can do so without undue cost to our nerves and health. For in truth the gift of an easier time of it is something we can all give to ourselves and to others and it’s appreciated even more over time.  It’s also nice to reminisce over the times we did it the old ways. No one can erase our memories, they will always sustain is in difficult times.

Yes, we love the Santa Claus myth and the children’s eager waiting for gift opening time. We love to see their faces as they unwrap their presents, and get a genuine thrill seeing their excitement when they get what they wished for.  Giving is a kind of receiving, of course.

When we take the stress out of holidays and special occasions we can truly enjoy them without paying an unnecessarily high price in the process. However if you decide to stick with the traditions established through time because you consider them irreplaceable treasures, make sure you stop and take some quiet un-peopled time to relax every now and then throughout your days. Take some deep breaths: Realize you have made the choice to do it this way, and you don’t have to, you are acting on your own volition, your free will, so decide to do it calmly; do it from a sense of inner resolve that keeps you centered and focused in the now.

Wishing you a happy peaceful, unstressed and  fulfilling  holidays! From Elaine Kissel