‘Tis the season to be jolly!!! It sure is. With holiday music flowing in my brain and joy radiating as I prepare holiday festivities with family and friends, it is certainly a gleeful time of year.

But let’s face it, this season also culminates in anxiety from planning, coordinating, seeing relatives (not all family relationships are hunky-dory), to gift giving obligations and so on. First and foremost, one should never go broke buying gifts! Gifts do not equal love. Our time on earth is the gift and our time spent with loved ones is what matters.

So, with all that said, how do we embrace holiday rigours and ensure an experience of gusto? Below are a few mindfulness practices to employ that may help ease the seasonal stress.

Establish Your Purpose

One of my go-to approaches before any vacation or holiday is to set my purpose for the time shared with family and friends. Maybe it is cooking with an in-law, talking about books or history with a family member, playing games with the little tots or participating in a 5K with a cousin. Establishing purpose is a mindful way to tailor yourself in the upcoming moments during the holiday rush.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

With that holiday rush, it is only natural that one starts to feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and lethargic. When you are in this state-of-mind, remove yourself from the situation (even if that means hiding in the upstairs bathroom for an hour), and focus on deep breathing with an essential oil, read an affirmation to re-center, or listen to calming music.  Be sure to acknowledge your feelings, but allow them to leave and drift so that you can move forward with positive and joyful energy.

Ensure a Chill Mindset

During the holiday season, I strongly advocate one bringing their journal, affirmation cards, oils, meditation music and yoga mat wherever they go. These are the very ingredients to procure a sacred space and to find that chill mindset when placed in challenging situations.

Relish “me” Time

This aspect can go hand-in-hand with remaining chill. With the holiday frenzy, be sure to make time and space for just you. Either it is a moment for yoga and meditation, a walk or run at a nearby park, or volunteering for a couple hours at a local shelter. If you have your cell phone handy,  read a calming affirmation or listen to an inspiring podcast.  Tiny moments of “me” time can add up to larger moments of zen time.

Remain Thoughtful

The holidays are stressful for everyone, not just you.  Remain mindful of not only your behavior, thoughts, words, and actions, but acknowledge the feelings of other people.  Be an ear to someone in need or a shoulder for one to lean on. Show compassion for others as that energy will radiate throughout the environment.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

At the beginning and conclusion of the day, acknowledge and be grateful for having the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Life is precious, so be sure to not take time or people for granted. Many folks out there have no family or place to go for the holidays, so be grateful that you do by instilling actions and words of gratitude.