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Be Kind, Don’t Get Hooked And Make It Bigger

With the holiday season upon us, I would like to share three ideas that I think might be helpful to having a less stressful few weeks and possibly even finding the peace and happiness which seem to be a bit difficult to find this time of the year.

First idea, Be Kind.  Most importantly be kind to yourself. The best gift you can give your loved ones, friends and families is the gift of your beautiful spirit. Nourishing your spirit does take some work, especially during this time of the season when you often feel burdened and rushed. However, to actually get in touch with what makes you happy and peaceful in the world one needs to put the brakes on.

By slowing down, when you are with the people you love, YOU are there not just your tired, overworked, exhausted self. Some other ways to nourish your spirit may include laughing (not easy when you are overwhelmed with a to-do list), having a meal with someone special, being in nature, a yoga class, time at the gym, practicing mindfulness and loving kindness practices, resting when you feel tired, and eating when you are hungry.  Of course, these are limited suggestions, and I invite you to add your own. The question to keep in mind: Am I being kind to myself by doing this….?  When we are kind to ourselves, it can’t help but ripple out to others.

Second, Don’t Get Hooked. Really, don’t get hooked. The holidays are probably one of the easiest times to get hooked because no one can hook us faster and easier than being with family under stress. Perhaps your sister didn’t remember that your oldest child hates the little mermaid (really no one hates the little mermaid, but you get the picture) and she bought the new 3D movie just for her.  Let it go. It’s not worth your serenity; and you don’t know how stressed and overwhelmed your sister may be. If you really want to practice not getting hooked, this is a perfect time to send loving kindness to your sister, which is silently wishing her well being and peace.  Follow this link to hear a loving kindness meditation http://www.self-compassion.org/guided-self-compassion-meditations-mp3.html.  Don’t get hooked on the media’s idea of a perfect holiday season. First of all, there is no such thing. Everyone’s “perfect” or “good enough” is different. Perfect to a child is having their parents be present to them in a way that shows them that they are loved and safe. A perfect holiday may be as easy as sitting with your child or loved one just listening or playing on the floor (adults included).

And finally, Make it Bigger. This is my favorite because this covers all possible situations. Someone always gets sick over the holidays. Your little one throws up just as you are getting ready to get in the car to go to your in-laws.  Making it bigger means using this as an opportunity for you to model kindness and patience to your child and those around you. It’s a chance for you to bring your spouse a hot cup of tea because they are extra tired and not feeling well also. You haven’t anything to wear to the company party, neighborhood get together. Making it bigger is realizing that most people are probably worried about what they are wearing also and will not remember what you wore, honestly, five minutes after they see you.  I think if you consider the question how can I make it bigger, you have already tapped into the circuits of your brain that in fact expand rather than contract.

The chances are slim that you will feel all peaceful and happy over the holidays. That’s not to be expected. However, this holiday season may be an opportunity to do one thing that will begin to open and nurture your heart and make it more beautiful and accessible to yourself and others.

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