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Advice from Mom: Holiday Stress

frost on window


My mom is the person I turn to for advice.  She is very non-judgmental, which I find to be of the utmost importance in a confidante (it is something I strive for with patients).  She also has great advice - spent years doing social work.  And she is creative - has been writing Sci-fi for over a decade and recently one an Indie Book Award for Best Fantasy.  Go Mom!  So I asked her to write a guest blog for me, while I am busy with upcoming business transitions.  


Self-Care During the Holidays

For some, the holidays overflow with boundless excitement and energy. There’s much to enjoy:  community celebrations, gatherings with family and friends, shopping for unique gifts, and sharing laughter around a fabulous feast.

For others, family complexities, crowded stores, tight finances, and a packed calendar dampen any childlike enthusiasm. Stress prevails, and December becomes a curly checklist with the end goal simply to survive.

Granted, some challenges are beyond our control, but for many others, we have the gift of
choice, and how we take care of our bodies, minds, and spirits during the holidays is one of

Care for your Body:

The holidays are infamous for ruining healthy habits. We eat more sugar, grab a mass-
produced burger while running errands, and stay up too late catching up on emails. Hustling
through the mall qualifies as exercise, and just remembering to breathe feels like an

  • Eat Wonderfully – Allow yourself to enjoy the delectable offerings without overstuffing.
    Watch your portions, slow down, and savor each bite.
  • Stay Hydrated – And I don’t mean with hot buttered rum. Keep the water bottle handy
    during your busy days.  At celebrations, imbibe responsibly and drink water between those glasses of eggnog.
  • Indulge in Rest – Living with a stressed-out grinch isn’t fun for anyone, including the grinch.  Get a good night’s sleep if you can, and if that’s impossible, take cat naps to relax and recharge during the day.
  • Get Outside – Find time to exercise. You may not be able to stick with your routine, but
    even a short walk is better than nothing. Breath in the fresh air and sunlight and let the
    tension go.

Care for your Mind:

The holidays are a time for good cheer, but making sure the bathroom sparkles, the goose is
cooked, and the presents are wrapped can be overwhelming. Lack of time, finances, and
energy can bring us to tears if we think we can somehow do it all.

  • Prioritize and Simplify – Prioritize what brings joy, and simplify where you can. Buy a pie
    from the store. It’s okay. And it’s okay to politely say no when feeling overwhelmed. Those
    who care about you will understand.
  • Keep Expectations Reasonable – During the holidays, we often set our expectations
    impossibly high. Let go of perfection, relax, and enjoy yourself. Life doesn’t need to be
    perfect to be beautiful.
  • Plan Ahead – Create a thoughtful plan to tackle your to-do list so you’re still able to enjoy
    the season. Make under-scheduling an artform, and if you find yourself overscheduled,
    rustle up the courage to delegate, ask for help, and accept the help that’s offered. You can
    always pay it back by helping someone else.
  • Take an Internet Break – Minimize screen time in favor of connecting with others and
    investing in meaningful relationships. Trust me, the virtual world will still be there in
  • Make a Budget – Be realistic about what you can afford, set a budget, and stick to it. And
    remember, love is priceless. Focus on celebrating together and show how much you care
    by being present and kind.
  • Give Creatively – Sometimes the best gifts are those of the heart. Homemade gifts, heart-
    felt notes, or giving away something special of yours has the power to show more affection than something bought in a store.

Care for your Spirit:

Cultivating an awareness of how we wish to spend our time and energy allows us to better
enjoy the holiday season. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important when overwhelmed, and
self-care is essential in creating a life of contentment no matter what’s happening around us.
You can’t draw water from an empty well, so take care of you while you take care of others.

  • Bask in Gratitude – Take a few minutes each morning to acknowledge all you’re grateful for.  Did you know it’s nearly impossible to feel thankful and irritable at the same time? Gratitude has the power to make us both healthier and happier.
  • Be Intentional – Before committing your time and energy, check your intention and stay
    focused on what matters most. Do those things that nourish your spirit and light up your
    heart, and politely bow out of the rest.
  • Be Generous with Kindness – Holidays can be difficult for those who are alone. Reach out
    to those who are without family and friends during this time of year. Found families can be just as warm and rewarding as biological ones.
  • Give to Others – If within your means, nurture your spirit by giving a bit of your time, talent, or treasure to a cause you believe in. It’s an act of kindness that can remind you of all you’re grateful for.
  • Give to Yourself – As you run around determined to ensure that everyone else has a
    wonderful holiday, remember to make time to do something special for yourself. You’ll feel re-energized and ready to tackle the next task. As much as possible, during this holiday season, laugh, let go, and love.

I wish you a happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season.