It’s not too late to consider some helpful hints for a more peaceful holiday season:

YES, YES, YES…I was working with an exec client last week who attributed his uncharacteristically flat mood to being over-committed; he’d been saying yes to things he just didn’t want, or ultimately need, to do. Indeed he is a person who admits people-pleasing tendencies with a keen interest in being liked. If this is you, you may feel you’re pleasing others but in reality you are often losing a piece of yourself and your health/happiness in the process. Just know it’s OK to say no. The world continues to turn and more often than not, the relationship you’re guarding will not miss a beat. 

I GOTTA...Watch your expectations of yourself. What stress are you volunteering for because of your own high standards? Do your really have to make four kinds of Christmas cookies or will one suffice? Do you absolutely have to make that Christmas Eve trip to Target for that thing that no one else knows is even on a list? We can be our own worst to-do list hijacker as we pursue some subjective view of perfection. I encourage you to loosen your reins on yourself so you can be more willing and able to be present with the ones you love. Your full presence is the ultimate holiday present.

UGH, IF ONLY…Expectations of others can also be highly taxing over the holidays. If you’re going to be seeing a challenging family member, don’t expect them to be any different this time. Every time we wish a person, place or situation is different than it actually is, we create suffering for ourselves. If you’ve got a lion, don’t expect a puppy. Instead, go into it knowing you will encounter a lion and revel in their uncanny ability to be exactly who they are. And hey, if anything changes, you can be surprised and delighted.

I NEED A BREATH…by all means, take one. Find simple ways to have private time away from the holiday chaos. A bath, a solo walk, an early to bed…whatever you can do to decompress will reap benefits. If at all possible, I encourage you to find an hour or two next week to sit quietly to review 2016 and consider the year ahead. What do you want more of? Less of? What do you want to create? What might you do differently in order to make that happen? If you don’t carve that time out, you might find yourself stumbling unconsciously into the New Year. Before you know it, 2017 will be half over and you’ll be saying, “Oh no, not again.” At least that’s what used to happen to me…

May you and yours be highly blessed this Holiday Season!