3 Keys to an Ease-filled Holiday


I was at Target yesterday and guess what I found?
The holiday frenzy has already begun.

It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, people. Do we really need to be so intense in the parking lot and rushing through the store already?

This happens every year. And every year I’m surprised.

Not because it’s new, but because I’ve designed a different kind of holiday season for myself over the last 10 years. And I kind of forget that there is a frenetic holiday vortex out there waiting to suck me in.

So today I thought I’d share with you a few things that have helped me create spaciousness around the busiest time of the year in hopes that you can take these nuggets and create a little peace in your life too. Starting today.

3 Keys to a more Ease-filled Holiday

1. Give yourself permission to do your own thing.

This is probably the hardest one, and takes the most courage, but it’s essential.

Why is it so hard to do your own thing? Between family traditions, advertisements, media, and keeping up with the Joneses, it’s really easy to get swept up in the frenzy. It’s also easy to begin to believe that in order to fully participate in The Holidays, you have to trim everything with twinkly lights and fake snow… as well as attend Black Friday sales and obligatory dinners.

It can also be easy to put all of our focus on other people’s joy. Giving gifts and having someone express gratitude and celebration feels amazing (totally an oxytocin/serotonin-filled kind of moment — those are both feel-good brain chemicals). We want others to be happy. We want to spread joy and cheer.

But the holidays are also a time for you. I’m going to say that again: The holidays are also a time for you.

Don’t lose sight of what brings you joy this holiday (and don’t expect that other people are going to give you everything you need during the holidays… presents are great, but you need rest, spaciousness, and nourishment too, which really only you can give to yourself).

So yeah, give yourself permission to do what makes you feel good this holiday.

2. Do things that honor your values.

Your values are the things that are most important to you. The things that deep down, underneath the logical/analytical brain, you know to be true and real and resonant. The things that make you feel alive.

Some of my values are creativity (or creating), generosity, and uniqueness. So the year I decided to make gifts for everyone was a turning point for me. I realized that year that by creating unique gifts for my closest friends, I felt alive and happy (as opposed to depressed and grinchy like most previous holidays).

A side note about values: when you do things that “step on” or dishonor your values (like for me that could look like buying generic knick knack-y gifts for everyone), it has the opposite effect and can leave you feeling downright icky and not at all like yourself.

What values do you want to honor this holiday season?

3. Set yourself up for success.

If you know you have a busy weekend coming up that has the potential of sending you into overwhelm, spend some time beforehand preparing for it. Buy nourishing foods that are easy to prepare, clear your schedule the day before or the day after to give yourself some “you time”, or make up a special code with your husband so he knows to run interference when you need to take a break.

Whatever it is that you need to feel supported, that’s what I’m talking about here. For me, this ranges from having clean sheets on the bed to a massage appointment to look forward to after the rush to mapping out some small escape times for naps or reading to having healthy snacks around.

You know yourself well enough to know if going into a busy period with a mountain of dirty laundry and sink full of dirty dishes is going to add to your stress or not. So take care of those things before the busyness or assign those duties to someone else.

What can you prep ahead of time? And what can you delegate this holiday season?

These keys are pretty simple, but not always easy to do once you’re in the midst of the chaos.

So take a little time before your life gets crazy and do what you need to do to create some peace for yourself.  And if you’d like a little extra inspiration, tips, and guidance in creating ease this holiday season, check out Easing into the Season. (Easing into the Season is closed for 2014, but for ongoing inspiration, tips, and guidance, sign up for my newsletter: The Inside Story.)

Photo Credit: Better than Bacon on Flickr.