Holiday survival isn't always easy!

Step away from the tinsel! Let go of that garland. Take a moment right now to put the holidays in perspective.

Why now?

Because right now you’re still starry-eyed and full of hope, joy, and good cheer. You’re still excited about getting out the decorations, putting up the tree, baking cookies. Ho, ho, ho!

You and I both know what’s on the horizon. The crazies are lurking just below the surface. That moment when you turn into the big, bad grinch. When you curse the jolly elves and lament the gosh darn commercialism.

Yes, the hectic holiday season is upon us once again. I don’t know about you. But I can feel myself starting to get all frenzied and frazzled just thinking about all the things I “need” to do.

While the season is meant to bring peace and good wishes, sometimes the whirlwind of activities and commitments get out of control. Then WE feel out of control. Not a pretty sight.

But this year’s going to be different. Why? Because you’re going to follow these 10 exhilarating tips to keep those holiday crazies at bay.

  1. Make a plan. Right now before time slips away, make a list of all the things you need to do. Make sure you’ve got it all down. Now CUT the list in half. Yep, that’s right. In half! Prioritize the things that are most important to you. Choose the ones that give you the most joy with the least amount of work. The rest of the list is gone. Kaputt. (Quick sigh of relief!)
  2. Think simple. Now let’s refine your list even more. Forget the fancy, schmancy, elaborate ideas (translate labor-intensive, time-consuming, and costly!). Simplicity is always more elegant and meaningful. Take food. Good food is more than fancy ingredients. It’s the compassion, joy, and energy of the cook that makes a meal fulfilling.
  3. Let go of the “should dos” and “have to. Cross all those things off your list. When you’re only doing things because you ”have to”, there is at least a smidgeon of resentment that eventually will be tied to it. You might be surprised to learn that the world doesn’t come to an end (and your mother won’t even be mad at you!) if you just don’t do those things. YOU are the one holding yourself prisoner.
  4. Pay it forward. Want to energize and revitalize yourself? Any random act of kindness will do. Let someone cut in front of you at the checkout line. Pay for someone else’s meal. Volunteer at a food bank. Visit a nursing home. Ease your holiday stress by giving with no expectation of anything in return. Generosity brings true inner joy.
  5. Be flexible with your plan. Everything is not going to go the way you plan. Prepare yourself for this now. Is your list written in stone? Of course not! Accept whatever happens as a divine stroke of luck. Any way that things work out is always for the best . . . eventually.
  6. Practice the “good enough” philosophy. Activate your “easy” button. So company is on their way and the bathroom is a mess. Do a quick swipe of the sink and toilet with rubbing alcohol. Put out fresh towels. And pull the shower curtain shut. Good enough! Apply this principle to all of your chores and feel the stress melt away.
  7. Easily forgive yourself and others. The holidays are an opportunity to practice compassion. But sometimes the holidays bring out the worst in families. Examine any unmet expectations of “problem” relatives. Lower the bar. Accept them for who they are – at least for the holidays. You’ll feel amazingly lighter.
  8. Everything in moderation. Eating, drinking, spending money. It’s easy to get out of control. Remind yourself that less is more. But if you do eat an extra cookie. Don’t waste time beating yourself up. Just cut back on treats the next day. Enjoy the simple pleasures of the season. Try not to be too restrictive or get too out of hand. Focus on balance.
  9. Take “nurture” breaks. Find a few tranquil moments every day. Give yourself scheduled time to pause and reflect. Take stock of your life. Enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Read. Do something that makes you smile. Little “treats” to yourself can mean the most in keeping your holiday sane. Take the time to unwind – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And don’t forget to engage your playful side – have fun!
  10. Focus on the deeper meaning, whatever that is for you. Mindfully and purposefully, savor the real joy of the season. How? Pick one item in your home that is special to you (creche, candle, figurine, etc.). Look at it and connect a warm, positive thought to it (I am blessed with a great family. I am a tranquil and happy person.) Now whenever you need a moment of peace and clarity, look at that item and feel refreshed and renewed with your joyful affirmation.

This time of year doesn’t have to be hectic and chaotic. Yes, some days will be tougher than others. But you are the creator of your own stress. If you expect a stressful holiday, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Open your heart and let go of that crazy hustle and bustle mentality. You have the power to make a fundamental mind shift. Set a positive intention to connect with your real inner joy and bliss.

Celebrate the season in serenity with a little tropical tranquility – the peace that comes from living An Island Perspective – every day of the year.

What do you do to lessen the holiday crazies?