Enjoy the Holidays! 5 Practices to Less Stress and More Joy
by Helaine Iris

It bothers me that most conversations I have at this time of year contain some level of
stress and anxiety about the upcoming holiday season. I'm not immune myself --
every year I swing on a pendulum between being caught up in a frenzy of
materialism or feeling the urge to back away and becoming cynical about the entire

What is up with that? Shouldn't this time of year be about peace, joy and celebration?

It's understandably complex; the holiday season taps into all of our personal and
collective beliefs and values, from our deepest feelings about creation to how our
families function to how we live in community. Throw a substantial dose of
shameless consumerism into the mix and it's no wonder people both love and dread

For better or worse, it's the way it is -- but there's an option.  You can consciously
change your relationship to this time of year. Rather than just go for the ride year
after year, (and hope you don't put on too many extra pounds) you can make a
declaration to yourself to make this a different year.

Here are 5 practices to seriously consider. If you do, I guarantee, you will feel
surprisingly different by the end of the year.

1. Get clear about what's most important to you.
Redefine the spirit of the season for
yourself. What is this holiday really about, is it spiritual? Family? Is it even about
giving? There are no right answers, except yours.

2. Are your basic needs met before giving to others?  Are you in integrity with your
finances? Often we equate love and generosity with the value of a gift. Gift giving
can take many forms. Make sure you are in alignment with your true values first,
and then decide what to give.

3. When you find yourself imagining stressful scenarios about family interactions
or social situations ask yourself, "is this the only possibility?"
Remind yourself that
worrying about the future or regretting the past isn't going to change what has or is
going to happen. Search for what else could be true, rather than what you fear.

4. Create your own traditions. Once you're clear about what makes this season
meaningful for you, have fun and play with it. Invite your loved ones to participate
in something new. Take a risk, defy convention.  

5. Remember, your time and energy is precious. Are your boundaries intact? Most
of the stress around the holidays surrounds an increase time demands and frankly,
increased food intake.  Be clear about what works for you and what doesn't. Making
and sticking to healthy choices isn't deprivation, it's self love. Enjoy yourself as well
as honoring yourself at the deepest level.

For me the holidays are about remembering the light, celebrating goodness and
deeply feeling gratitude for life itself. I'm looking forward to December...are you?

I wish you ALL, all the goodness, light and love possible now and through this
holiday season.

About the author:
Helaine is a Life and Business Coach, who has been featured in numerous
publications, including "O" The Oprah Magazine. She helps entrepreneurs accelerate
their professional success, while achieving a more fulfilling personal life. She
combines a broad range of professional experience in her
work, including management positions in the education, training, retail and
international non-profit sectors. For a free consultation, contact her at 603.363.4252 to
discuss how she can help you accelerate your own success. You may also visit her
www.pathofpurpose.com for additional information, or email your
questions to
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