The Holidays Are Coming!
Tips to Feel More Joy and Less Stress
It’s that time of year again! As we gear up for the Thanksgiving and December holiday seasons, a few of us (or more) may find ourselves grinding teeth in anticipation of the stressful moments that can appear amidst the celebratory activities. You may be thinking, “how can I be more organized during the holidays?!” Well, my Friends, with a little advance planning and setting an intention for More Joy and Less Stress, we can certainly achieve that goal and create loving and memorable experiences as we close out the year.
As your San Diego Feng Shui consultant, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite tips that can help you get to that place of ease and enjoyment!
Organization is Key!
Planning out your holiday experience is one of the best ways to reduce stress. I suggest taking a block of time to sit down with your calendar. In other words, make a date with yourself to make dates! Map out, backwards, all the necessary steps for you to create your own unique and happy holiday.
For example, are you hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? Decide on the time that you plan to sit down to eat. Work backwards in figuring out when certain dishes need to be cooked or warmed up. Many dishes can be made the day (or two or even three) before. Write all this down, and then put it on your calendar, even putting in the specific time that you plan to do this.
Additionally, figure out when you plan to set the table (this can be done several days before, if you are dining at a table that is not in regular use). Make a note on your calendar for the day you will order the turkey, and the day you plan to pick it up (the earlier in the week, and the earlier in the day, that you do this, the fewer crowds you will encounter, and the lower your stress-o-meter will register!). Do you have an extra refrigerator to store the turkey? Or do you need to pull out a large cooler and purchase ice to hold the turkey, prior to the day you plan to cook it? And, when does the turkey need to come out of the refrigerator before cooking? Even mark down on your calendar the day you plan to pull out the pots, pans, serving dishes that you plan to use for the meal.
The more pre-planning you do, the smoother things will go. I like to have a folder for the Thanksgiving holiday, and one for the December holidays. The planning schedule for this current year can go here, along with the recipes. At the end of the holiday, make notes of what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps you need to adjust the timing (example: get the turkey a day earlier!), perhaps you want to have more ice made in advance for all the drinks, or you want to allow more time between the turkey coming out of the oven and the time you serve it, or even a note that reminds you “don’t make this recipe ever again!” So, when next year rolls around, you can simply open up your folder and you have a system in place to begin planning the 2018 holiday season.
Ritual – a means of grounding, and staying connected to Source Energy
You’d think the holidays wouldn’t be stressful here in beautiful San Diego. Feng Shui consultant or not, I deal with the same stresses anyone else does! I’ve found that ritual is hands down one of the most useful tools for making your life more calm and peaceful. Period. It is a repeated, conscious act that focuses our attention and focuses our intention. Subsequently, Ritual elevates a simple act from the mundane to the sacred, helps us to gain clarity, and connects us to our Higher Self. To begin, I suggest simply add one ritual to your daily routine. You can add more later.
My favorite Ritual is this – upon first waking, before you do anything else, take 30 seconds to a minute to express gratitude. This action sets you up for starting the day in a place of high vibration. And by the way, expressing gratitude (aloud, aloud, aloud) is my “go to” for any time I need to shift my energy and change my mindset and get out of that rabbit hole we all can go down when negative thoughts take on a life of their own, the end result being just plain feeling bad. Want to get back on the path of feeling better? Express a verbal stream of consciousness of all the things you are grateful for.
Other ways to bring ritual in to your life –
Be mindful when performing a mundane routine, such as making the bed, washing the dishes, turning on the kettle to make your tea.
Make time each day, or week, for family meals, or family meetings, or game night (meaning no electronics). Shared time creates lasting connection and community.
Pray, meditate or visualize.
Put out your clothes the night before (or set the breakfast table the night before, or have the kids’ backpacks packed up the night before) – do whatever you can do the night before to eliminate one more “to do” in the busy morning rush.
Just say No!
Make time in your day or week for You! Put that time in your calendar. Honor the commitment you make to yourself. You honor the commitment you make to attend your friend’s holiday party, right? So, treat yourself the same; honor the commitment you make to yourself. You scheduled down time to read a book or to address 10 holiday cards? Keep that commitment! When you value yourself, others will treat you the same.
I invite you to drop me a note and let me know if you tried out any of these rituals and how they feel to you. Or share with me any ritual that You use on a regular basis that provides peace of mind to a busy life. Repeat these small acts and over time you will notice a big impact that they make on the quality of your life. And that is a promise!