The intensity of the last 19 months might be lessening, but some of us still aren’t feeling the stability of years past. There is this frenzy to “get back to normal,” yet there is also an awareness that we are not sure what that is anymore.

This holiday season might look different – different friends, different locations, different traditions. There might be an empty spot at the table due to death, a divorce or a difference of opinion.

As we move through THIS season, let it be new. Let the comparisons go. Honor the past and make the effort to BE RIGHT HERE for the magic of THIS time.

Remember to GIVE.

Give your time, your ear, your smile, your attention. Giving doesn’t have to be a financial or physical gift; say thank you to the barista or the staff delivering your food. We have all missed our friends and loved ones over the last couple of years; the gift of YOU will be more than enough.

Spend Intentionally.

It is SO easy to get caught up in the fervor of MORE and end up having way LESS in January. Set a budget, do your best to stick with it. Experiences and time spent with others have been scientifically proven to have more impact than that last-minute candle with the red bow.

Say YES and No. 

It might be tempting to say YES to all the parties and events, and it will truly feel like a good idea at the time… and then the overwhelm kicks in and then the guilt for canceling. Many of us have been alone or in small groups over the last two years. Being around too many people, too many gatherings, too much food and drink can overwhelm our nervous system. Overall, it can be sensory overload. It’s ok to put your self first and, at the very least, pause before you accept the invitation. Remember, saying NO is saying YES to you and your needs.

Support. 

Trying to do it all can be overwhelming; remember, saying no is saying yes to your needs.

You might not expect to feel overwhelmed, or you might already know that the season brings a lot of emotions up to the surface. Be prepared to speak, write or move what you are feeling. Whether you have a trusted friend, coach, therapist, dance or yoga class, a well-worn journal, or favorite trail, take the time to express how you are feeling and honor it rather than bypassing or ignoring it. 

Allow. 

When groups of people come together (family or not), they bring their own set of baggage, none of which we are in charge. Family dynamics change, children grow, our parents get older, friends lose their partners and people lose their financial fortune. What happened last year, happened last year. Be flexible with family traditions; be open to new traditions and allow modification to the old ones. 

Keep it Simple. 

The holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. RESTING is an integral part of physical and emotional wellness. 

Remember, JOY is the intention and joy requires us to be present rather than running frantically around doing EVERYthing. At the end of the day, take time to reflect with friends, family and yourself. Soak in those moments of ease, grace and magic. Learn from and release the difficulties and challenges of the day; holding on will only weigh you down and take up the precious space where joy and peace live.

Remember, peace begins with you. Happy holidays ~

Jen Yockey is the owner of Gather Yoga & Wellness, author of Gathered Truths and host of The Gathered Truths Podcast. She is an E-RYT yoga & meditation teacher & wellness coach and can be reached at (760) 219.7953, www.gatherlaquinta.comjennifer@gatherlaquinta.com.

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