Divorced parents, squabbling siblings, cousins who compete, unresolved family dynamics, successes and failures broadcast at gatherings (or whispered behind backs) …. the season is ripe for highlighting any and all family dysfunction.
Thanksgiving has passed, but there’s still a bunch more gatherings coming up.
Are you wondering how you can change channels on the drama coming to your home this holiday season?
Here’s the bad news: you can’t change the re-runs of family dysfunction.
Here’s the great news: you can, without a doubt, change the story that goes on within YOU.
What’s the trick here? INNER WORK. It will take a little effort on your part, but I guarantee you will create a new show in town.
Why These Simple Morning and Evening Routines will Save You
Consider this inner work to be like boot camp. Or preparing for a marathon. You are creating a foundation that will anchor you through all the holiday turbulence and allow you to experience the true joys of the season – love, peace, and connection.
The key is diligence. Persistence. Creating a daily program and sticking with it provides awesome benefits. Below is a suggested routine.
If you have a meditation practice, great – continue with it. Do it first thing in the morning, before the day gets away and offers excuses to skip it.
If you do not have a current meditation practice or if you’ve never meditated, refer to some links below for guided meditations, soft music to help the practice and how to’s.
This can be a short 15 minute session – a good start to the day.
Rant and Gratitude Journaling
Take a few moments to journal. Unload the angst. This means checking in and assessing your feelings, noting the actions you take from that, seeing what results arise. Let it all out – here is the appropriate, safe place to do so.
Express your gratitude. Reflect on your hopes and dreams and take the time to communicate them to yourself. Look to appreciate the things, people, situation that you may have overlooked while busily engaging in holiday planning and partying.
Being heard by you will help you later on if you feel that you are not being heard by family and friends.
We have busy lives and you may only be able to do a few minutes of this journaling communcation. Perfect.
Do a short set of exercises – not your full routine, but a few stretches, yoga positions, a few situps – to get the blood moving and to honor your body. A few minutes of reflective movement will guarantee a deeper connection with your body and start the day in appreciation of your physicality.
Get a book of inspiration, spiritual wisdom, philosophical support. In the resources at the end, you see a few choices. Read a few pages. Just a few is fine!
During the day
Check into yourself often. How are you feeling? Where in your body do you experience those feelings? Note where you feel the open, fun emotions – like joy. Do you feel an expansion? Where.
When you’re experiencing restrictive, negative feelings – such as sadness, anger, guilt – where does that reside in your body? Some people experience a tightness in the upper chest. You may feel a clenching in your belly. Maybe your shoulders contract. Note it all, with kindness and compassion Allow it all to BE. Breathe and expand and feel the feelings become not so dominating.
It’s all perfect in our imperfect humanity.
Allow Yourself to Experience Pleasure
Enjoy the foods and drinks of the season. Sometimes you’ll moderate it, sometimes you won’t. Hydrate and add in non-inflammatory foods, like vegetables (a lot here!) to help you process the richness.
Enjoy it all.
For at least an hour before bedtime, turn off screens, social media, phones and computers. Soften the lights. Take a few moments to reflect upon and integrate your day.
Here are some self-care possibilities:
- Light a candle and honor the descent into the darkness.
- Take a long bath with epsom or Dead Sea salts and essential oils
- Sing – or play music if you have instruments to do so.
- Read a few pages of your spiritual book.
- Take a long bath with bath salts and essential oils
- Do a guided meditation in bed to help you enter sleep.
Look to the next day, put out your clothes and whatever else you need to embark upon tomorrow.
Honor yourself – compliment your strengths, comfort your failures. Being human is challenging!
Return to “Reality”
Most people are on edge during the holiday season. You can be affected by their moods, as you experience your own.
Again – keep checking in to see how you are handling all of it. Witness with compassion. Breathe and find moments of peace. When you take time to truly honor the season – which entails going into the darkness, calming down, and listening to silence – you return to yourself, on the deepest level.
Most of us are 24/7 shopping, planning, partying. Taking these brief moments to start and end your day will make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in how you interact with others and, ultimately, how you experience joy.
When you’re seated at the holiday table – and the drama begins – you’ll be able to breathe, witness, and engage from a centered YOU. Now you can appreciate the show, and see it for all it represents: life as humans on this planet. A many-splendored thing.
Merry Holidays to All!
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