There has been much talk about the real meaning of Thanksgiving, but to me it is a time to connect to family and friends in the spirit of gratitude and love. And now, many people are celebrating Friendsgiving since so many of us have family scattered around the globe.
This will be the first Thanksgiving that we share without my mother and I am very aware that it could be a bittersweet holiday celebration.
In our modern techno society, we’re unfortunately more likely to get stressed out and frustrated with our family members during the holidays than we are to connect deeply with them, show our appreciation and express our gratitude. Relationships have become more complicated and strained because we are all so busy and tend to spend less time than we’d like with our family and friends.
The period between Thanksgiving & New Year’s has also become increasingly less about meaning and more about material concerns; getting presents, wearing new outfits or cooking the perfect “Food Network” dinner.
Acknowledging this, I wanted to provide you with not only a simple ritual you can do with your family, but also some simple and practical tools to prevent this inevitable holiday stress that is upon us.
My Family Ritual:
Before dinner is served, ask each person to talk about what mattered most to them in the past year and to share what they were most grateful for. Pass around candles and have each person light one as they speak. Light the candle for the children, since they love to participate.
End by lighting a special candle for those who are no longer with you, except in spirit.
This simple ritual creates a sacred space that allows us to share from our hearts. As we maintain this ritual, we strengthen the threads that bind us to our past and lead us into the future.
Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress:
Be aware of your feelings. You may feel sad during the holidays if someone close you to has recently passed away or you are physically far away from family and friends. You don’t have to pretend to be happy, however. Once you acknowledge your feelings, you then have the freedom to move on and focus on other things. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, your local church or a temple is a great way to re-focus & shift your feelings
Be flexible. Things change, and we have to change with them to stay in the flow of life. Include some of your favorite traditions this holiday and then be open to creating new ones. Maybe your sister is now a vegetarian and you include a Tofurkey along with the traditional one, or you Skype in your cousin in France at the table who cannot make it home.
Do not overspend. Use this year to find simple ways to enjoy the holidays without going into debt. Creating more debt will add to the stress you are already feeling. Remember it is the spirit of giving that counts, not the dollar amount of the gift.
Do some simple relaxation exercises. Try doing a simple math problem in your head for 6-8 seconds, moving your body into an easy yoga pose, or going for a brisk walk outdoors in nature. Plan in rest stops and alone time during your (holi)days so you will not be burnt out.
Set boundaries. If you never say no, your yes will never mean anything. If you don’t treat yourself as valuable, no one else will either. This can cause you to either “stuff” your feelings down within and become resentful or blow up and explode unintentionally. Learn to delegate – you don’t have to do everything by yourself!
Laugh and do things that bring you joy. When you laugh, your brain releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin, which make you feel happy and content.
Give up being a perfectionist! Stop comparing yourself to others or measuring your success by impossible standards, including those of your family members.
Work With Me:
NOW is the time to lock in your end of year ritual or tarot reading! I work in person or via Skype for your convenience. Need a space clearing, group ritual or rite of passage ceremony? Let’s talk! I also have limited availability for private coaching with new clients. Call our office at 212-741-3358 to discuss your needs!
Holiday Gift Ideas: My magical aromatherapy sprays are the perfect gifts to give! When you buy 3 or more they will come packaged in a beautiful burlap bag ready to gift to your favorite someone.
Gift Certificates are also available for Tarot or Coaching Sessions! Contact us for details.