We are moving toward the holiday season. This time of year can be one of joy with cozy nights by the fire, family and friends gathering for meals and the excitement for possibility that comes with a new year. It can also be a high trigger time with feelings of loss, grief, isolation and “expectations,” that have fallen short. We often feel pulled in way to many directions and often saying, “No thank you,” can be a challenge.

I want to offer you five ideas  to put into place right now, so you can design a container of self-care and introduce some peace and calm into the holiday storm.  I use these myself and although there is no empirical data to share with you, I can tell you that implementing simplicity has helped me to move through the holidays with more gratitude and grace.

ONE.  Create your “ideal,” holiday season
Start by writing about your ideal holiday season. Better yet, create a page in your visual journal, showing this ideal scenario. You could also create a vision board to hang as a daily reminder. Even better, invite your significant others, partners, friends and/or children to do this activity with you!

TWO. Balancing work and life
Prioritize. I’m hosting dinner for a friend next week and I really wanted to avoid the pressure of shopping at the last minute and in the crowds. I did the majority of shopping for ingredients after work and horse chores, this past Friday. It means I’ll only have to make a run to the store if there’s a small item I’ve forgotten. In addition, I am also sharing the duties and having my friend help by bringing her favorite family dish (Yes, it might be sweet potatoes with marshmallows or the green bean thing, however, I like to remember what’s important and accept their family tradition with grace, generally speaking it often comes with a good story!).

THREE. What about the gifts?
So, let’s be honest, is there anything else that we really need?  I can imagine this topic is a hot button for those of you with kids, but as adults, let’s take a breath and a cue from all the de-cluttering and minimalist experts. How much-or more to the point-what do we need to make us happy?  My gifts each year are always the same. I make homemade organic bath salts and it brings me such joy to imagine friends and loved ones, soaking away their stress. I took a course on this while living in California, but you can google pretty much anything and learn to make it yourself. If you do want to purchase gifts, please consider handmade. In doing so, you are supporting a local artist, as well as your community. You can check out this link and support your local artists!  If you’re in the Carbondale area I highly recommend visiting Carbondale Arts and the Launchpad and Deck the Walls. 

Here’s my bath salt recipe. I’ve changed it a bit from the original that I learned and you’ll find that you will do the same, depending on your favorite eseential oils. 
I make a BIG batch in a large glass bowl and then place them in pint size ball jars. It’s pretty loose, but trust your intuition to guide y

  • Equal parts Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt OR you can use less pink salt, as it can be a bit expensive. I use it both for its healing properties and color.
  • I add a few drops of organic lavender essential oils. You can also put in a drop or two of organic lemon oil.
  • If you have any dried herbs from your summer garden, you can throw them into the bowl.
  • I just found this online. I think you’ll enjoy it.

FOUR. Decreasing isolation
Many of us are single-myself included. In the past the holiday season was a huge trigger time. In addition, many of us have complicated families and that alone brings up tons of feelings and emotions. If you are finding yourself feeling lonely, don’t wait until someone calls you with an invitation. Reach out to a trusted friend and tell them you are seeking connection. Or create a gathering at your home even if it does not fall on the “official” day. It will help you feel connected and you’ll have something to look forward to that you have created.

FIVE. Let go of perfection in service to creative innovation
Perfection is a killer. I have an image of my inner Perfectionist archetype and she’s not pretty. She wields a whip and stilettos. Absolutely nothing makes her happy. In addition, her perfectionist strivings can have an adverse result and lead to a “why even bother,” scenario, if I let her run the roost. So I have learned to tame her, by finding a way to compromise and invite a sense of play into my life. This extends to the holidays. I remember my first holiday gathering for my former in-laws. I was in my early 30’s, and still quite eager to impress. By the time it was all over, I was wrung out. I felt like I could have spent a week in bed from exhaustion. In the end it wasn’t any fun at all, so I made a pledge right then and there to adopt the “life as messy,” mantra to the holidays. Surprisingly, when you invite the rest of your friends and family to join you in this way of being, it will lead to giving others an opportunity to bring creative innovation to the process and take some of the weight off your shoulders.

I hope you find these holiday tips helpful. As always, I am so grateful for the years we have traveled together and for your trust and faith in all things Creative Awakenings.

Why not add a little light and joy into winters darkness? Check out our upcoming winter events!

With love and appreciation,