Give Yourself Five Minutes: Reduce Holiday Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

~ Songwriters George Wyle and Eddie Pola


There seem to be two camps: those who sing along merrily to the above lyrics and those who cringe when they hear it. I pitch my tent in the cringe camp.

I find this time of year s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l.

Needing some stress relief ideas, I recently did what I usually do – I attended a workshop. The presenter at this “how to handle the season” class suggested we take a cue from nature and “surrender” to the season. Wear warm socks and shoes, eat hearty soups and stews, and only do what is absolutely necessary. Good advice. However, in between all that “surrendering,” you need to pay the bills, help with homework, take the dog to the vet, and, yes, prepare for the holidays!

But the best tip the presenter gave was this: find five minutes a day to close your eyes, sit quietly, and picture your dream version of the season. While you are hanging out there, brainstorm creative ways to make that version a reality.

By the way, science backs up the idea that meditation (just another word for sitting quietly) can boost your brain power, improve your memory, sharpen your focus, heighten your mental clarity, and lead you to more creative thought.

So for example, if your dream is to have a quiet holiday at home with your immediate family and not socialize with any, ahem, challenging relatives, is there a way you could limit visits with those relatives?

Or, conversely, do you love having lots of friends and family around on the holidays but many live far away or are just not interested in socializing? Maybe you can find a way to travel to them or reach out to other friends and relatives who live nearby and do want to celebrate with you.

As with many issues in life, there is usually a balance, a compromise. To find that right point that works for you and your family during this season, sit quietly every day for five minutes. You may be inspired in unexpected ways to adjust your plans to better meet your needs.

And this quiet approach may help you to create the life you want throughout the year – maybe it is smoother morning routines, healthier lifestyles, more laughter . . .


By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator



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