“The Holidays” : A loaded concept, often directing the individuals mind to a very specific picture steeped in emotional conjurings. To some, this time of year is a time of celebration, joy, family, and laughter. To others it is a less joyful picture riddled with mixed emotions and sadness. One thing is a constant, however. The Holiday season is a time of added stressors because it is a time when “more” is simply a given; more entertaining, more demands on our time and finances, and more food on our plates. Along with this “more” is the built-in irony of being stressed at a time that should be spent establishing a sense of stillness, and sharing joy with loved ones. Like anything well done, there is a bit of effort involved in creating that which you would like to experience, so here are a few suggestions to help you remain calm during this season while establishing serenity within your home and your life.

1. Don’t abandon healthy habits.

This is the biggest gift you can give yourself. There are temptations everywhere and partaking in all of them is simply not a good idea. What you put into your body, particularly sugar, deeply affects moods and will put undue stress on you during this season. I am not a big proponent of restrictive lifestyles that feel like punishment of what we are meant to enjoy. Taking the time to truly practice portion control will allow you to have that treat you only have once a year without paying for it the following day. Fuel yourself properly and don’t assume that you can take on the extra demands without extra support. On days when there aren’t enough hours to complete the tasks at hand, don’t reach for the extra caffeine or sugar high to get you through. Instead, fuel your need for energy with the right foods.

2. Budget your time and your wallet.

It is much easier to chip away at something than to try and deal with the whole big scary thing all at once. Set aside a day for shopping, and cooking, and schedule holiday social engagements knowing that you don’t have to attend every invitation you receive. Your friends will understand that you can’t be at every celebration of the season. Say “yes’ to the social gathering that you know will bring you happiness, and practice saying “no” to the parties that will deplete your energy. Budget your time and your money to keep stress at a minimum. Take a few moments to make a list of gifts you need to buy and how much you have in your budget for them. Instead of being lured by the catchy new items at the shopping malls, spend less money and time getting gifts that might carry more meaning. See #6 on this list.

3. Don’t plant any expectations for yourself or others. 

Have you ever heard the line, “if you plant an expectation, you will reap a disappointment?” When we get attached to the pictures in our minds of what the holidays should be like, what they used to be like, and what we want them to be like, we are asking to be let down. If we let go of what the perfect holiday party will look like and focus more on how we feel and how others feel that are partaking in the moment with you, then you allow the space for true joy. If we get too attached to how it must, should, or has to look, we will only feel the lack of what was intended rather than what transpired. Let go of the expectation of what you will create, receive or want from yourself and others….Be present and enjoy the moment that is now.

4. Sleep is an elixir. 

Sleep is essential to both health and your moods It is when our cells 
regenerate and our bodies reclaim the energy it needs to carry us forth 
with more balance. Without sleep the body is more susceptible to anxiety, stress and overeating. To learn more about the effects a good nights sleep can have, click HERE.

5. Keep life’s cup half full.

This season is one of heightened emotions, compounded with physical demands, and financial strain. But if you shift this around in your mind and see these negatives as having a built in strength, then your perspective and your ability to deal with the aforementioned will be greatly improved. What if the financial burdens at hand allow you to truly be present with how to truly honor someone with your time? What if other’s heightened emotions open up the opportunity for you to reach out and support a friend or family member, and to help them with making the holidays a moment when they feel supported rather than overwhelmed and saddened by the “alone” ness many feel? In life, there are nothing but options. Your glass is either half empty or half full. You decide every day what your reality will be. Make it a point to choose the cup that is half full and start your day acknowledging this, so that you set the intention for your day on a positive note.

6. Be Real.

The genuine nature of your gift will last in the hearts of those you share them with more than anything else. Often the best gifts are the gifts of time. If you have a friend that loves to cook, create or download a gift certificate to join her for a cooking class, or offer to spend a few hours with her to work on recipes from a cookbook she enjoys. If you have a gardener in your life, wrap up a small notecard offering to spend a few hours helping to plant or weed, or whatever you think is called for. Get the picture? Memories are things we take with us, not objects….The best gifts are the ones which promise to add something of value to one’s life so start with how you can share quality time with others in the making of memories. It is the one gift that allows both the giver and the recipient to receive.

Author's Bio: 

Odette Worrell is a certified Holistic Health Counselor, certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), a Reiki Master Practitioner, Certified Hatha Yoga Asana Teacher (200RYT), Certified Living Foods Chef, and founder of Find Your Organic Soul.

Odette's work encompasses supporting and empowering individuals to regain their physical health, improve the quality of their lives, and reach their personal goals.

Odette and Organic Soul offer newsletters, online health, self-growth classes, and one-on-one health counseling consultations.

Visit www.findyourorganicsoul.com