Holidays are approaching and the feeling of stress and being overwhelmed rises up! Did you ever wonder if there was a way to get through the holidays feeling relaxed and balanced?
This year was an especially amazing one for me. Watching my daughters marry their soul mates were two of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Sometimes planning celebrations can be both exhilarating and challenging at the same time. Coordinating all the details can be confusing, frustrating and time consuming.
The consideration of budget and everyone’s wants calls for endless patience and compromise.
Yesterday, standing at the pinnacle of a mountain trail and looking over the vibrant, multicolored landscape, with unexpected rays of sun, I was filled with awe.
I found myself repeating how wonderful it was that the dismal and rainy morning turned to a perfect hiking day and how amazingly beautiful the moist, soft trail strewn with the bouquet of fallen leaves was.
My doggie Millie reminded me of sheer joy as she pranced about, in and out of little streams curiously exploring her surroundings, playing with people and dogs on the trail.
I felt extraordinary gratitude. I was also grateful to share the experience with friends with whom I could share my family joys and hear about theirs.
I realized how happy I felt at this stage of my life to see my three children launched into their lives and to finally have the mental space to appreciate the abundance in my life.
As I write this blog, goose bumps are surging up my arms as I reflect on my journey as a mom raising a family with a child with special needs.
Each of my three children has made his and her way into a fulfilling life and I can let go of the parental caregiver role. Now, I can choose to be free to care more for me.
It occurred to me as I recounted some of my experiences, that I was always free to care more for myself, I just did not always purposefully find a way to make that happen.
I often wound myself up in the stress and found it difficult to remember all the good stuff too.
As more celebrations approach, I want to incorporate the gratitude I feel to help me keep all the planning details into perspective.
When the pressure of preparation approaches, I can take some conscious steps:
1) Remind myself of what I am grateful for.
2) Ask myself what is really important in each moment.
3) What is causing me stress?
4) What can I do to take care of myself first?
I am most grateful for my health, my family and my friends.
I am thankful for the gift of the space in my life to care for me.
In this moment, I choose to make a thoughtful plan for what I want to accomplish.
Self-judgment and worry are big stress factors. I intentionally watch for the negative messages I send to myself and work on letting them go.
I set an intention to set aside time for nourishing myself. Yoga, walking with Millie, social time, crafts, singing, reading are some of the activities that are important to me.
As for holiday planning:
1) Plan in advance
2) Set reasonable goals
– Organize schedule of to-dos
– Create steps that feel easily doable
– Consider caring for you a high priority to-do
3) When stress arises, ask yourself what you are grateful for
4) Acknowledge the challenge and give yourself permission to let go of what feels overwhelming
5) Create a solution
It is amazingly powerful to remember what you are grateful for when things are not going your way!
You give yourself an opening to shift your perspective and find an action step that feels better to you.
For me, using the breath helps me release tension and access my thoughts that lead to a solution.
What do the holidays mean to you? How will you create the balance and joy that make the holidays feel magical to you?
Replace stress with gratitude and feel the abundance that you want in your life!