How To Handle Holiday Stress

Lena Franklin, LCSW

Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist & International Wellness Guide

 

The holiday season can prove to be a stress-ridden time for mommas everywhere. We can oh-so-easily get swept up in the frenetic pace of life ~ scurrying around buying gifts, decking the halls with lights and preparing holiday meals. The commercialization of Christmas and the holiday season has resulted in inevitable stress and anxiety about purchasing the ‘perfect’ gifts for our children rather than staying connected to the true light of the season. So how do we prepare for a merry, mindful holiday full of boundless meaning and minimal stress? Mindfulness offers us a portal through which we can reclaim the holiday season as a time to journey back home to what matters most ~ peace, light and lovingkindness. As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, I often work with moms trying to doing it all, while painting the facade of effortlessness…and this becomes pervasive during the holidays.

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What’s the solution?

Mindfulness.

Here are 3 tips to BE a mindful mom this holiday season:

1.) Presence Not Perfection

Notice when perfectionism rears its head through your self-compassionate awareness. When we’re present with our minds, bodies and hearts, we can more easily detect the nuanced thoughts and feelings that creep up. Give yourself permission to practice what I call “the sacred no,” by declining party invites or even simplifying your holiday family plans. Doing what’s best for you, your family and your children will cultivate more zenergy (zen energy) than trying to please everyone around you. The media has painted an idealized picture of what the holiday season should look and feel like — this is an illusion that creates more stress and anxiety. Make presence a priority by pausing throughout your day and practicing self-inquiry by asking yourself, “How am I and what do I need in this moment?” This moment of self-awareness can transform how you interface with your day, naturally birthing more peace.

2.) Connect to YOUR Light

In the midst of frantically shopping for gifts, we are perpetually forgetful about the meaning of the season. Remember, we are all beings seeking love, meaning and connection. The holiday season proves to be a challenging time for our connection with self and others. For example, this core reality immediately escapes us when we’re triggered by our child who complained about a gift they got…or didn’t get. Cultivating connectedness is a moment-to-moment practice. I encourage my momma clients to use the experience of seeing lights (on a Christmas tree, candles, other decor, etc.) as a reminder to breath mindfully into the belly and align with the energy of love for all beings. Not only does this sacred pause hijack the automatic stress response that’s heightened this time of year but it also fosters an expansive sense of connectedness with the world.

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3.) Mantra Meditation

The wisdom of wellness exists within you. The more effectively we can begin to manage our own energy and emotions, the more we can enjoy the holiday season and the less exhausted we’ll become. We’re so busy attending to what other people need and want during the holidays that we forget to check-in with ourselves. Make mantra meditations a non-negotiable during the holidays. For example, when your eyes flutter open in the morning, sit up in bed and begin mindfully breathing ~ paying attention to each inbreath and outbreath. In this moment, repeat a mantra (internal affirmation) such as “I am peace” or “I choose love”. You can even practice this throughout the day when you’re taking a bathroom break or while at work. Remember, you can only serve those who sit before you (your children, family and friends) at the depth you’ve met yourself. Refill your cup before you attempt to fill others’.

 

The greatest gift you can give yourself and your family is mindfulness this season. When we’re intentional about how we choose to meet life, our peace, joy and love naturally flow into the world.

 

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The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of your physician or licensed health care provider. You should consult your physician or licensed health care provider before engaging in any exercise activity described in this article to determine if it is right for your needs.