Thanksgiving is over and the holiday bustle now begins. Crowded stores, higher prices, kids with Christmas lists, relatives coming and going, meals to prepare, and don’t forget the endless cleaning. Tis the Season!!

So with all this extra stuff to do and still keep our daily obligations, how do we find time for ourselves and keep our inner peace?

Every Christmas 20 to 30 people would fill our house for Christmas Brunch. Over excited kids would run everywhere, and very tired parents, along with grandparents and aunts and uncles, were all waiting to eat, talk and maybe relax. Of course, there is always one relative who always knows how to do something better than you. Drinks seem to vanish, food spills, and there is constantly a little emergency popping up. How does a hostess like myself keep her calm – or even continue to have fun in all the chaos?

I knew the importance of valuing myself and my time. This one concept kept me from reacting to every little “help hint”, crisis and every grouchy or annoying relative. Valuing myself is the overall idea for each step I take every day, whether it is a holiday or not. By employing these steps in my everyday routine, I built an atmosphere of unshakable peace around me and allowed myself time to have fun no matter what else was going on!

Step 1:  Set Boundaries :

Honor who YOU are and what YOU need in your life to be happy. If you run around pleasing everyone else all the time, you find there is nothing left to give. You can become grouchy, tired, and even bitter.  This is no way to spend the holidays.

When you begin to honor YOU and your time, you will begin to set up boundaries and say “no” to yet one more party, lazy relative, or changes that are a total inconvenience for you and your family.

Learning to implement your boundaries is not being selfish. On the contrary, it is allowing you to keep some organization in your day and stop you from running in circles for everyone else, depleting your energy, wasting time and finding you never have time for what you need to get done. Instead, you feel put together and organized, which gives you a sense of freedom to have fun. By not taking on everyone else’s plans or wants, you can have fun fulfilling your own plans. It is the fun that makes everyday worth living!

By implementing my boundaries I was able to have the “this is fun” feeling and it showed. Because I would become creative, every year was different. Maybe a treasure hunt for the kids or a impromptu drama by whoever dared to try, or live music.  It was feeling free enough to think of these creative and fun ideas that would have never happened if I felt put upon or depleted of energy.

  1. Take Time for YOU:

Honoring yourself  includes time for yourself. Set some time for YOU. It can be as simple as sitting quietly with a hot cup of tea, or a special treat of jumping into a movie you really have been waiting to see. Maybe a walk in the park or woods or reading a book. Whatever it is, it is your time. It is time for you to replenish your energy and honor your own needs. And remember to thank yourself and the Universe/God. Gratitude is You saying, “Yes God, I know I am loved by you and because of this I love me”.

Spending a little time each day helps us to breath and enjoy life. It is even more important when everything gets very busy. When we take the time to step out of the business and slow the time down, that is when we see the fun or thinking of the creative ideas. It is replenishing us on every level.

Remember if we have the love, compassion, creativity and fun in us, we then can give it to everyone else.  Every one benefits when we feel good about ourselves and life.

  1. Meditation 2 times a day:

Yes, I hear you – two time a day? Meditation is great for many reasons. First, it allows us to center, reach a place of utter calm and peace. Ekhart Tolle says “It is the nowhere and everywhere…” place. Allowing ourselves to live in this place for a moment or more helps us to see that there is something so much bigger. Any circumstance or situation is just a moment in the whole journey of life. Mediation puts perspective on our life.

Try this great routine I have been practicing for over 20 years.

Morning:

Every morning, I write out 10 things I am grateful for. I start my list with, “I am so very happy and grateful now that…..”.  Be sure to really feel the emotion when you are writing.  If you are writing about your kids or dog, then feel the love and happiness you have for them.

Next read through your list one more time then close your eyes and ask for guidance for the day.  Allow yourself to sit for 5 minutes and become aware.

Finally send loving light to 3 people who may be bothering you at this time. See them surrounded by loving, beautiful light.

Evening:

Light a candle or sit in your favorite place, put on some music if you like, and begin to meditate.  It really doesn’t matter how long. What is important is that YOU feel that special quiet place inside. All your body relaxes and your mind floats.  This will become your favorite part of the day.

Meditation is great when life seems to go crazy. Maybe it is that friend/ associate or relative who finds great joy in tormenting you or nothing is going the way you planned. Stop! Find a place away from the chaos and take deep breaths. You can even put your finger on your neck and feel your pulse. Just breathe and become centered.  Feel you!  Once in a much better state of mind, you are able to respond to the situation in a way that is for the betterment for everyone involved. This mini meditation actually helped me save my brother.

When my brother was slipping into a coma on a table in the emergency room, I got on my phone and figured out what was going on. Then I became very quiet with the intention of how was I going to get the doctors to listen and act, giving my brother what he needed to live. When I knew I went up to the doctors and nurses and explained slowly and with finality who my brother’s doctor was, what he needed and how to contact the doctor’s office.  Within 15 minutes my brother had the needed medicine and began to wake up.

If I had gone to the nurses and doctors in a panic, screaming and yelling, I would have been pushed aside. Instead my calmness, factual speech helped them to see that I was serious and knew what I was talking about. “Calmness is the jewel of wisdom….” even James Allen in his book “As a Man Thinketh” saw the value of calmness and effectiveness.

  1. Make a List of What is Important:

Make a list of what you want those close to you to feel during this holiday season.  Is it panic? Is it anger? Or is it closeness, happiness, love and family.

Whatever you list as important becomes your focus for the holiday. The whole holiday is about this list.  When things become really crazy – stop and think, “Is this what is important? Is this accomplishing what is on my list? If not, change it.

I love this list.  I even have a list for our lives. “What are the important things I want my kids to feel about family when they are grown?” I have 5 important values or concepts listed and each time we have an issue in the family, I go back and read my list, think about the best way to apply these values in the way I respond or deal with the issue.  For example, support is one of the values I want my kids to always know. We support each other. No matter what it is, we are there for each other, and helping each other.

Or If the family/kids suddenly want to go sledding and you had planned to iron the linens, take time to stop and think.  Which is promoting what I want my family to feel about family and the holiday? You may find you will begin to loosen up and enjoy!  What amazing holiday memories will be made and the value of togetherness, love and support are being made stronger.

Holidays are made for closeness, happiness and love. Everything else is secondary. Use these 4 tools help you keep focused on what is important, replenish, be creative and most of all have fun!  This may turn out to be the best holiday season ever for you and those around you!

Light and Love always,

Alena Chapman