How to Reduce Holiday Stress
I invite you to take a breath. Through your nose: Deeeeep Inhaaaaale. Out your mouth: Deeeeep Exhaaaaale. Now how about two more of those?
Okay, now that your nervous system has had a moment to recalibrate, let’s talk about the holidays. If that made your breathing quicken again, I invite you to go back and take a few more deep breaths before continuing to read.
Have you ever thought about how much you’re running in obligation mode in the month of December?
No matter what you celebrate (or don't), there seems to be an endless supply of pulls on our time with invitations, requests, purchases, and preparations. Maybe it’s time for a holiday reboot. I mean, what if you chose to say no to some of these “opportunities” so that you could say yes to peace and calm?
Even if at first it seems like an uphill battle, I promise you it's worth the effort. Kinda like taking time to organize a kitchen drawer and then feeling relaxed and even uplifted each time you open it. Ahhhhh the space and order that has now taken the place of what was once an area overwhelmed by junk!
“All” it takes a willingness to risk a new possibility by doing something different.
Say yes to fewer gifts and more meaning. If you are giving gifts, instead of buying something physical that will eventually become clutter, consider giving:
- a donation to their favorite organization that also aligns with your values—I suggest a farmed animal sanctuary like Animal Place, Blackberry Creek, or Gentle Barn—easiest gift ever. And here's a new list by brilliant feminist-vegan author, Carol Adams of farmed animal protection groups run by women and people of color (and a section on groups led by white women).
- a food gift, as long as you’re confident about their needs and preferences
- a gift certificate or membership to an online store with vegan specialty ingredients for those whose local stores don't stock them
- an experience like going to a show or sharing time together on a winter walk
- a coupon for a “playdate” with a special friend you want to prioritize spending more time with
- a book you know they’ve had their eye on
- movie tickets, dinner or registration for a class they want to take
- a gift card for a service like a massage, floatation tank spa, or house cleaning
When it comes to activities, December is rife with invitations to every event you can imagine from dance recitals to parties. It might feel better to choose 2 or 3 things that you’d really enjoy and decline the rest so that your weekends aren’t completely consumed throughout the month.
Unless all-out decorating is your thing, look for ways to simplify that too.
When it comes to entertaining, instead of having a full-on dinner party, you could invite friends over for a dessert party, or if you and your friends are off sugar, how about a salad potluck where everyone brings their favorite salad—don’t scoff, salads have come a LONG way!
This isn’t about bah-humbugging—Wait, is that a verb? Well, it is now!—your way through the month, it’s about making your life work for you. Even. In December.
Wishing you a peaceful month and the strength to do something different.
With love and JOY,