With the rush of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the rhythm that has become the norm in our culture. We’ve come to expect the impossible from ourselves.
And you are expected to do all of these activities with a smile on your face.
Not possible. Unless you make the effort – with intent – to implement specific practices that will help you maintain spiritual wellness during the holidays.
In an earlier post, I shared my Morning Routine. It helps me get grounded first thing in the morning and is a place I return to – as my spiritual baseline – throughout the day.
Since I don’t have to deal with the stress of the holiday season this year, I have asked 8 outstanding bloggers, all respected in the field of health and/or personal development, to share their strategies for maintaining spiritual wellness during this hectic period.
Here’s what they have to say
“Holiday time, beginning right after Thanksgiving in the USA, is always a busy time. I am inundated with invitations to attend holiday networking events for business, charity fundraisers, year-end club dinners, parties at my church and more at this time of year. While it’s fun to be invited to all sorts of gatherings, be they for business or pleasure, it is overwhelming.
I have realized how draining it is for me to constantly have to be “on” when I am at a group function. While I am friendly and love meeting new people I am also highly sensitive to the emotions of the people I am around. I come away from these events feeling exhausted and many times will wake up feeling sick the next day.
So, as I’ve grown older I have finally found the power within myself to say, “No,” to many invitations I used to feel obligated to attend. Now I pick and choose, very carefully how I wish to expend my energy and time. I need a lot of down time to rejuvenate by meditating, resting, reflecting, reading, taking walks and writing in my journal. This is the sacred time that restores my soul and keeps me balanced and spiritually well during the holidays.” Angela Artemis of Powered By Intuition
” My spiritual wellness practice around this time centers on spending as much time on my own as I can. My day begins with a period of meditation, journal writing and when possible a walk in nature in one of the parks near my home. I keep a daily gratitude diary and I take this time to read it and once again get truly present to all the goodness in and around my life. The Xmas holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with both my immediate family and also my huge, extended family.
Though we don’t as such celebrate Xmas from a religious perspective, we do have a big family gathering and spend Xmas Day with a gourmet vegetarian meal and the usual games and favorite TV seasonal shows. Finally, I always spend this festive time reflecting on my life and where I want to take it over the next 12 months. This time of self-nurturing and being around the family makes me aware once again of what’s really important in our lives – and I always end up with a very optimistic and upbeat picture of the year to come, both for myself personally, and for the world.” Arvind Devala of Make It Happen Club
“As an overachiever, my greatest challenge over the holidays is to make time for rest. Actually, that’s a challenge for me any time of year, but the holidays bring a host of expectations and commitments I don’t have otherwise. It’s easy to become exhausted. Taking a break for an overachiever, however, is easier said than done. I often become anxious at rest. I feel that I am somehow getting behind, as if life is a race where I must always be at the front of the pack. There are two ways I overcome these psychological barriers. One is to spend quite a bit of time each day outside. My natural instinct is to stay where it’s warm, but actually, some of my best memories have been in less than ideal weather, like touring an ancient stone circle in the pouring rain or dog-sledding in the frigid forests of Sweden. Even a walk in a nearby park can be surprisingly rejuvenating. My second strategy is to trick myself with simple, straightforward tasks, such as de-cluttering my office or helping my husband pull together a big meal. In this way, I still feel “productive” while giving my mind the rest it needs.” Jen Gresham of Everyday Bright
“Staying spiritually healthy requires us, from time to time, to have a larger perspective than we tend to usually take—to expand our focus, to zoom out. For me, it requires me to let go of expectations and stand on top of the mountain, if you will, looking down at all aspects of my life and really just be an observer, rather than feeling that I must do anything.
To spend time each day in silence, true audible silence—the kind that can be blaringly loud at times and brings me face to face with both my own signiﬁcance and insigniﬁcance at the same time. I literally envision myself zooming out, I’m standing in a forest, then I see just the forest, then I see the whole surrounding area, then I see the continent, then I see the world. I am an observer of what the Universe is playing out right in front of me, of the pure potential of possibility, of the abundance of my own existence.
Another spiritual practice I have is noticing, on a daily basis, the light as it streams down from the heavens. It might be sunlight streaming through a break in the clouds, or it may be the gray light of a rain storm. No matter its form, the beauty of light in it’s true form reminds me of the ever-changing face of the Universe. And no matter what I am doing at the time–running, washing the dishes, driving—I stop and say a word of gratitude for the abundance of beauty that it all around me.
Abundance. Gratitude. Perspective. BIG Perspective. ” Dr. Erin Martin of TrueMedInstitute
“I love to continue my routines that help me stay focused and peaceful throughout the year, and to not lose sight of the underlying purpose of the holidays. While it is fun to enjoy the spirit of this time of year, it can be stressful to try and cope with all that is expected. The spirit of the holidays is about giving, so in that vein, this is a wonderful time to recognize and give to those who are less fortunate. I think about who has touched my life this past year and acknowledge them in some way that will bring them a little joy. Sharing experiences and appreciating the people in my life who I love is what keeps my spirit thriving during the holidays and throughout the year.” Cathy Taughinbaugh of CathyTaughinbaugh
“What exactly is “spiritual wellness?” To me, it’s being true to your individual spirit, your True Self. And how does one do that? By being still enough to hear the whispers of your True Self and deeply knowing your own core values. Until you understand what your core values are, prioritize them and live them daily, you’ll live your life at the whim of others. You’ll take things personally and worry about being accepted and liked. You’ll wonder why you feel exhausted and can’t ever find happiness. Living your core values means putting your True Self first with compassion for others. You love and accept yourself first and, therefore, don’t need that external validation from others.
Maintaining spiritual wellness during the holidays and the rest of the year means knowing what’s right for you and following that path. If traditions don’t feel right to you, don’t feel compelled to follow them. Create your own. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Feel compassion for those who try to guilt you into following their plans. Their guilt comes from their own fears and insecurities about themselves. It has nothing to do with you. How you choose to celebrate the holidays is very personal. It’s up to you. Get still. Get quiet. Listen to the whispers of your heart and follow them. When you do, your holidays will be filled with heart-felt joy and true happiness.” Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness
“In a general sense I believe spiritual wellness is a state that creates an experience of meaning and connection in life. For me, it begins with self-compassion. Many years ago, a beloved mentor said to me, “If you treated others the way you treat yourself, you’d have no friends.” His words cut deep, but also woke me up to the harsh way I’d treated myself. I’ve found that we often need this kind of wake-up call to change the patterns and old beliefs that keep us from being our best.
I am most able to connect with spiritual wellness when I treat myself with kindness, and love the face I see in the mirror. This filter of self-compassion connects me to Source energy which then feeds my wellness in all ways, making it much easier to cherish others, and life itself. During the holidays it is often more challenging to make space for myself each day because there’s so much going on, and my routine can easily be disrupted. This makes it more important than ever to create structures I can stick to! At the start of the month, I blocked out time for myself each morning which helps keep me grounded. That time may be given to meditation, dancing, or walking the dog, the activity less important than the commitment to myself.
I have also begun the practice of asking myself “How do I want to feel today?” and then I do what it takes to follow through. It’s not always easy to nurture myself in the face of the seasonal demands, but it has to be a priority for me rather than an after-thought. When I take care of my spiritual wellness, I can more easily and willingly be there for others in a meaningful way.” Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching
My daily morning practice of painting, meditating, EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique), walking on the beach followed by a swim and then every evening writing in my gratitude journal are what keep my balance during the holiday season as well as every day. How do I fit these in I hear you ask? Firstly I have learned that when I put my wellbeing first I am healthier, happier and I feel good about me and my life, then I am so much more able to support my I do get up early, today was 4am, sometimes it is 5am, as my morning rituals are what maintain my spiritual wellness on a daily basis. If I find myself slipping in or as happens life takes over I use Hoóponopono with EFT to bring my balance back. I tap 3 rounds of I’m sorry, Please forgive me, I love you, Thank you. This will calm me and get me centered again. Suzie Cheel of Heart Whisper
If you listen to the wise words of these fellow sojourners, you will feel less stressed and more mindful. The big payoff is that you will be able to enjoy the beauty and real meaning of this holiday season.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.. Would love to hear the strategies you use to help keep you balanced, calm, and filled with joy over the next couple of weeks.