How To Be Well (And Stay Well) Over The Holiday Season.

22 Dic

The end of the year can be a time of joy; it is an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, to walk in the fresh air, rest and relax, eat nourishing food, make plans and set goals for next year. However, many of us don’t experience the holiday season this way. Many people that I know are feeling anxiety, stress and emotional upset. Some are under financial strain or are putting themselves under undue pressure to do everything right.

When it comes to a family gathering, there is the usual fighting with Uncle Jo over politics, worrying about burning the turkey or agonising about whether Aunty May likes her gift. It boils down to everyone trying to control things that they have no control over. We do have a choice – let’s choose not to do this anymore.

We don’t control anything, not really, and we cannot make people change to be what we want them to be, just as we wouldn’t like them to try to change us. Trying to control everything in a world where we have no control leads to anger and frustration. We end up taking it out on ourselves by overindulging. We can eat too much food or drink too much alcohol to try to alleviate the pain. Then we can wake up in a daze several days later wondering where the end of the year went…

So I offer you two contrasting scenarios – Joy or Pain. You get to choose which one you wish to live out. Yes you do have a choice, it just seems that when you get tied up into other people’s needs and wants, you lose touch with what you want. When the holiday season becomes one of obligation to other people, fulfilling duty or trying to control everything, the love and the fun get lost, and in comes the stress.

If you’d like to experience more joy and less pain read on. I hope that these suggestions can be something you find useful, not just for the holidays but for your life in general.


Look After Your Own Needs

In order to stay aware of all the implications of the choices that you make (yes, including the ones that seem trivial like what to have for dessert) you need to be centred in yourself and know what your needs are, as well as trying to facilitate everyone else’s.

Remember: self-care is not being selfish; selfishness is when you take more than you need whereas self-care is giving yourself exactly what you need. Care-givers (empaths – people who feel other people’s feelings) tend to step out of the way and let others’ needs take over. Many empaths don’t even know what their own needs are. They don’t value themselves enough to put the time in to find out.

Use this simple image. See yourself as having a tank of love; when it runs dry, you have no more to give. When your tank is low you get agitated, upset, resentful, angry even and have lower tolerance levels. Life can be most unpleasant, not just for you but for everyone else. When your tank is empty, well, that’s burn-out. It feels similar to depression and you may need to take to your bed for a while to recover. If this is something that does happen to you, please take heart. There are things you can do to resolve it.

How do you fill up your tank? This is the question you need to be asking. Music? Walking? Resting? Meditation? You need to know what you need so that you can do this for yourself. Because taking time for you is a need, not a want. Not getting roped into full weekends of activities when you need space is vital for your wellbeing. You want to show up and be compassionate without being resentful, so make the space for self-care. You also need to ask yourself, ‘How full is my tank? What do I need to do for myself today?’ I use the wellness scale in my book How to Be Well to help you work in a practical way with this. There’s lots more information in there for you to draw from and plenty of ideas for you to start creating a new healthy way of being.

So when you know what you need (and why you need it) you can feel strong enough to say ‘no’ to rushing around shopping in the morning with a relative, and take the morning for a walk in nature on your own instead. That way you fill up your tank, and then you can sit at the table with everyone later and have a full tank to draw from.

Be Empowered in Your Relationships

It’s so common in families to have heated arguments during the family gathering. Knowing that you’re centred and have a full tank to draw from is a great space to be in before deciding whether you want to get involved or not. Staying out of something can be much healthier than needing to be right. However, it takes energy not to be drawn in.

If you do choose to join in the fray, remember that you are a valid individual and have as much right to your opinions as anyone else does. Reverting to child-like behaviour when surrounded by elders can happen to the best of us, particularly during the holiday season when things get heated. We can remind ourselves gently that some people will never change, that we don’t actually need people’s approval and that, some of the time, people won’t understand us and that’s actually okay.

You can learn how to peel away the layers of disempowerment in your relationships so you can learn what you’ve been doing, get your power back, then choose to respond rather than react. Above all, awareness is key; it’s important to know what your needs are and know who pushes your buttons (and why) so you can work with it, rather than let it build up until you cannot bear it anymore and it explodes. I have many techniques that you can draw from in my book.

Appreciate What Is Truly Important

The holidays are not about presents, they are about presence. The true gift of the holidays is the love and joy we give and receive in our relationships, when we are fully present to it. When relationships are in difficulty we can all suffer for it. Instead of feeling dread around the holiday season because of the people that may or may not be involved, notice the small things that you’re grateful for, then grow them into bigger and bigger things.

Once you recognise the beauty that is in the world, you see it in everyone around you, even if they have hang-ups, even if they’re angry. See the soul inside the body, see the struggle that person is having, and warm your heart towards them as a whole instead of feeling like you have to fight your corner. Fighting something only feeds the thing you’re fighting. Isn’t it better to feed joy and love with your attention?

This means letting go of trying to be right, trying to control and needing other people to fulfil you. This is a lifetimes work but it’s the most important work you could ever do. Surrender and learn how to appreciate what is here in front of you instead of lamenting what is not. Know that things change and next year will be different once you change the way you see the world from the inside out.

Exercise – Connect to Love

Take a few minutes right now to disconnect from the stress and confusion around preparations and plans for the holidays. Whether you are going to be surrounded by your family and friends, or going to be on your own, you can always connect to a source of unconditional love.
Unhook your thoughts from things that are troubling you – use your imagination to do this right now as you read – go on! Unhook and bring your awareness back into your body, into your head, your chest and your heart.
Breathe and feel your feet on the ground. Feel Mother Earth beneath you.
Breathe in a source of unconditional love from above your head and feel it coming through your body as you breathe out all the sources of stress, all the tensions in your body.
Breathe in love and breathe out stress and tension. Do five or six deep, long, body breaths and feel yourself feeling safer in your self, feeling more present to the world and feeling more peaceful and calm.
Then relax. Just be. Feel how you are feeling. Notice how your tank has filled up.

It Is All about the Love

Nothing is as important as connecting in to the source of love. It is what truly feeds us, makes us feel whole and it is very rare that a person can give this to us. To see energy healing as a source of unconditional love is so empowering, you’re suddenly not depending on a person to give this to you. Using the exercise above, you can start to trust that it’s always there for you, whenever you feel the need to connect to it.

It’s time for us to become empowered in our choices and to know that love is here for us, if we want it. It’s time to receive it, to share it with others and to actively make connecting to a source of unconditional love a practice in our daily lives. Love is what the holidays are really about. So do this and do it regularly. Fill your tank with love and you will be well for the holidays, and for all the days to come.


Abby Wynne is a shamanic psychotherapist, energy healer, author and teacher. She blends psychotherapy, shamanism and reiki for a powerful and unique healing experience and teaches her online community how they can empower themselves through spiritual work.



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