Monday, November 5, 2012

Stressful to Simple - Holiday Season Calm

Just about now the last of the Halloween candy is becoming scarce. The kids' pillowcases of chewy, chocolate, sour-sweet gummy treats is just about dry.  And that extra bag of candy you bought... (you know the one; the nutty-chocolatey yummy kind) .... just in case there were more trick-or-treators than you'd expected, is empty.

The sugar crash has begun - just as the "Holiday Season" is beginning.

November brings with it the onset of the season of parties, celebrations, presents, and LOTS of food. It can be a joyous festive time of year.  It's the time to spend time with family and loved ones.   Giving and receiving special gifts and trinkets brings a sweet satisfaction as we see the wide eyed looks of awe on the faces of those who received the "perfect" gift.  It is a magnificent time.

It can also be a stressful one.

In the hustle and bustle of holiday season preparation, the abundant joy just waiting to be claimed is often lost. In our busyness of trying to create the perfect memory for our families and friends, we can lose sight of gift of sharing who we are, where we are.  Buying the right gift, or cooking a 5-Star worthy meal becomes the focus - task centered instead of presence centered.  What is supposed to refresh and restore us through sharing thanks and holiday cheer, can stress us and suck the energy out of us. That is, if we let it.

Stressful to Simple

There are things we can do to reduce the stress. It can involve changing what we do and how we do it. It can also change how we chose to look at things.  (By the way, changing what we do and how we do it, can also change how we look at things - double score! )

Here are some ideas reduce stress by getting back to the simple.

Create a Count-up project that you and your family can participate in. Instead of counting down the days (that focuses on time which translates for us, fewer days to get all we need to do done) create something that adds - a blessings and thanksgiving wreath or tree that reminds us off all that we do have, not the time that we don't have; a daily pocket change jar to be donated on a designated date that coincides with the holidays; or a progressive goal to honor someone such as walking a distance and increasing it each day till a set holiday- a show gratitude for the struggle and hard work done by those around us or those that have gone before. There are any number of things that can be done to remind of the blessings that we have. It's simple. It puts the stress in perspective.   or a - ie Chanukah  jar, holiday chain, thanksgiving tail feathers....

Reduce the time in your kitchen - spend the time in kitchens feeding those less fortunate.  If we have the means and time to purchase and prepare holiday meals and goodies, but our stress over the tasks robs us of joy, then spending time in a kitchen that feeds others just may be a solution.  Serving those that may not otherwise have a holiday meal brings comfort to the others, a sense of purpose to ourselves, and good dose of perspective about the things we stress out at the holidays.  If we have the means to purchase the holiday meal ingredients, there are lots of options for purchasing the prepared family style meal, and spending the time serving others. It's simple, it reduces stress, and it does good for others. (See the giveaway page for more info about prepared meals and a chance to win a gift card!)

Make something from the heart. If it is the stress of finding and buying the perfect gift, revamp your thinking about gift giving.  Each year there are lists created of the "perfect" gift of the season.  Still there is not a guarantee that the person will like the thing.  Instead, give a gift from the heart. A handmade item or unexpected gift catches the attention.  Include a handwritten personal note of why you chose or made that particular gift and instantly, the gift has meaning.  Be sure you are sincere... truly follow your heart, and the stress is replaced with the joy of giving.  It's that simple.

At this time of year, don't focus on doing it all and being it all to everyone all of the time. As much as we'd love to create a Holiday Season straight from the pages of a magazine, realize that the value and the memory isn't in how perfect the things of the holidays are, it is in how precious and blessed each moment of them is.  Move from stressful to simple this Holiday Season!

What is the most stressful thing about the Holiday Season for you?
How do you reduce the stress and find the joy?  


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