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5 Loving Practices to Get You Through the Holidays

I love the holidays. I love the season of gratitude, giving, snow, hot chocolate, holiday music, cookies, and celebrating. And every year, I live in a divisive state. It is so easy to be swept off my feet by the magic of the holidays. Or to be the resident cynic who reminds everyone around me of this constructed holiday fantasy. Or to simply let the fantasy and the cynic co-exist, because they are both a part of me.

And that’s okay.

As festive as this time of year seems, it is also a time of tender hearts and fragile feelings.

We may gather with family and friends that often involve complex histories.We may compare our experience of the holidays to the Instagram posts of those we follow.

We may feel disappointment around our partners and spouses experiencing another year of unmet expectations.

Or, like me, you may throw in the towel and break the news of Santa Claus on Christmas morning (admittedly, poor timing last year).

In all of this flurry of believing, moving, and consuming, what is the priority?When I know I am approaching a sensitive and vulnerable time and space in my inner and outer world, I mindfully care for myself in more intentional ways. No matter what you believe or where your priorities lie, put your well-being and connecting to generosity at the forefront.

A few loving practices for you during the holidays:

1. Remember to Breathe.

Take time to oxygenate your body mindfully. Intentional breathing will enable you to access higher states of consciousness and rise out of your reptilian brain.

2. Remember to Sleep.

Most of us do not get the basics cared for, which leaves us really raw. If you struggle to fall asleep, take an inventory of the way you spend the three hours before you hit the pillow to determine what may be impeding a relaxed state.

3. Pay Attention to Your Sugar and Alcohol Intake.

I hesitate to give guidelines on food and drink, and yet we all know that sugar and alcohol are depressants and really hit our immune systems hard. Be kind to your body. (You can celebrate without overindulging.)

4. Affirm Yourself.

Care for you by honoring and appreciating the unique and wonderful qualities you possess. Become intimately familiar with your brilliance, because if you don’t, why should anyone else?

5. Serve Others.

You are wired for contribution. And when we transcend our limited sense of self and consider giving to others, we experience a swell of goodness. This may be the best thing you can do, so give your time, talent and treasure to others.


 

Whether you have family and friends to be with this holiday season or you are flying solo, remember that you are never really alone. You are connected to all that is. There is a holy presence in you that is the light of the world.

You may connect with that presence during the mania of the holiday party circuit and in the solace of your silence. It is always available to anchor you, guide you, and love on you.

Take these last weeks of the year to reflect. Resist the tendency to unconsciously pack your calendar. Slow down and consider what is working in your walk on this planet and what shifts you would like to make in preparation of the new year.

We are in sacred times. The darkness is not to be feared. Honor it, and in doing so, honor yourself.

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