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7 Simple Steps for Stress Free Holidays

Try these seven tips based on the chakras for more peaceful holidays.
You might start by slowing down as my sweet neighbors suggest with this sign.

10 MPHHere come the holidays and with them a bundle of stress triggers and challenges that can take away from the fun and festivity of the season.  While we love to get together with family and friends, sometimes the extra tasks and pressures can add up and create situations that are less than fun and definitely not festive.  Extra shopping, more cooking, cleaning, preparing, crowds, parties, traffic or traveling with flights delayed or other inconveniences can take the fun out of the season.  Then, there are the long-term family patterns replete with buttons that are often pushed right at the dinner table after a few too many glasses of bubbly.  Whatever form it takes, the strain and tension of being overloaded can sometimes rise up and ruin our fun, family time.

So how can we deal with this inevitable stress of the holidays and put the joy back into the season?  Here are some simple steps we can take to uplift our spirits and make sure we don’t get overloaded and react emotionally in the presence of habitual family patterns or simply collapse from exhaustion when we should be having fun.  These seven steps are actually based on the chakra system and begin with the crown or seventh chakra and go down to the root or first chakra.  Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

7_chakraSet Intention (Crown)
Decide in advance how you would like your holiday experience to be.  You can use ideas like – peaceful, meaningful, relaxing, fun.  Whatever words you come up with, you might want to form them into a simple mantra or affirmation to keep in the forefront of your awareness as you go through your socializing.  Remember the aspects of an affirmation are threefold: positive, present tense and repetition.  An example would be ‘I am peaceful and relaxed’ or use whatever idea you want to remind yourself when intensity arises.  Say it often.

Visualize (Third Eye, Mind)
Use mental images to picture how you would like to see the holidays unfold.  You can imagine your home beautifully decorated with family members happily enjoying a home cooked meal and conversing with one another in pleasant tones.  Or you might picture young children playing well together with their new gifts.  Don’t forget to picture yourself attending to your tasks with ease in a relaxed manner.  You may want to focus on the deeper meaning of the holiday you are celebrating and especially the fellowship of gathering together with family and friends.

5_chakraCommunicate (Throat)
Talk to family members and friends that you will be socializing with and make plans so everyone is on the same page.  Get input and add your own ideas.  Try to share the tasks and planning so it isn’t all on one person’s shoulders.  If past holidays were overwhelming, try simplifying your plans.  Consider a potluck instead of one person doing all the cooking.  You might want to add the element of giving back to the community or helping those less fortunate who need some extra holiday cheer.  This will make the holiday much more meaningful to you and your family.

4_chakraCollaborate (Heart)
Invite your family and your friends to be part of your festivities.  Work and play together and enjoy each other’s company.  Remember the love that brought you together in the first place and be careful not to let stress or emotions trigger unnecessary reactions.  This is a time to enjoy and appreciate each other.  Express your gratitude in random ways and you will find it returned to you.  Minimize gossip and politics.  People in the same family often hold different points of view so best to avoid conversations that cause conflict.  The long-term benefits of unconditional love will be the reward.

3_chakraTake Action (Solar Plexis)
If you are hosting a gathering, let yourself enjoy the activities and tasks involved.  Enlist close friends or family members to help you with preparation and logistics.  If you are attending other people’s events, be sure to help in the kitchen and contribute to the workload.  Put on happy holiday music to lift your spirit and remind you of why you are doing all the extra work – the shopping, cooking, cleaning, gifting, decorating and so on.  You may want to take time for yoga or stretching to release pent up energy so you have the vitality you need to carry out all you have assigned yourself to do.

2_chakraEnjoy and Play (Sacral)
Remember the reason for the season and even in the midst of all you are doing, be sure to let yourself feel passion and joy for the blessings in your life, your family, friends, food to eat and roof over your head.  Many people have much less in life and still manage to keep smiling. In fact, a good laugh is always in order, even when the turkey falls on the floor or your dog overturns the holiday tree or a child knocks over a glass and breaks it.  Especially turn your enthusiasm toward your elders or those suffering or in need.  This season is a perfect time to reach out to others who can use a physical or spiritual boost.

1_chakraGrounding (Root)
This is the level where you take care of the basics, the details and all that is necessary to manifest what it is you want.  This is also the place where you can connect with the earth and honor all that it provides for your physical needs.  Be specific and check off the tasks on your list so you can feel you have accomplished what needs to be done.  You also may want to ground out by taking a walk in nature or by taking a few moments to sit quietly in your room or in a sacred place in your home.  In this sanctuary, try playing some peaceful, relaxing music to help remind you of the inner peace you are so wanting in the midst of life’s normal chaos.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and you are able to find peace and fulfillment during the holidays this year.  I welcome any additional suggestions for stress free holidays whether or not they relate to the chakras.  You can see my video on toning with the chakras on our YouTube channel or listen to my chakra meditations and the music my husband, Dean Evenson, and I create at www.soundings.com.

And thanks to my teacher Anodea Judith for her wisdom on manifesting your dreams through your chakras.