Prayer For Holiday Stress

5 Easy Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Prayer For Holiday Stress

Have you ever noticed how challenging it is to spiritually prepare for Christmas? The weeks leading up to Christmas – the Advent season – are intended to be a time of preparation for Christmas, yet our seasonal to-do lists can often get in our way.

Checking off all of the items on that list in time for December 25th on top of all of your everyday normal duties can seem a superhuman task.

The stress of navigating the crowds at the store, decorating, keeping the family drama to a minimum, and attending holiday parties can make it difficult to really enjoy what the Advent season is all about.

Every year, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts research into one particular area of stress. One year, their research focused on the stress that Americans experience during the holiday season.

Their findings showed that, while positive emotions (love, happiness, and high spirits) were associated with the holidays, both men and women reported experiencing increased stress during this time.

The primary sources of stress that the study identified were time, money, and commercialism or hype surrounding the holidays. People worry about the increase in spending during the holidays and finding the time to get everything done. Work stress is also a factor during the holidays.

The research revealed that people become stressed about participating in holiday celebrations at work and balancing work with holiday celebrations. With findings these, keeping the spiritual aspects of the Advent season and Christmas can seem easier said than done.

The key to keeping the spirit of the Advent season at the center of your Christmas preparations is to recognize potential sources of stress and minimize their effect as much as possible.

Taking a preventive approach to warding off stress will allow you to immerse yourself in the wonderful traditions of the Advent season.

Here are five ways to manage stress during the holidays so that you can prepare for Christmas peacefully, in both a spiritual and practical sense!

1) Set Realistic Expectations

“Comparison is the thief of joy” is a famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt and it is helpful wisdom to keep in mind this Advent and Christmas season.

It’s easy to set unrealistic expectations when it comes putting together the “perfect” Christmas celebration especially because we are surrounding by marketing that is telling what we should aspire to in order to have the perfect holiday.

When you start to compare your Christmas lights to the massive display of your neighbor’s, suddenly the time you spent putting them up doesn’t seem such a good idea.

Or what about that DIY Advent calendar you saw on Pinterest? Does your homemade Advent calendar pale in comparison? See how comparison can rob you of your joy? Be at peace with the way you choose to prepare for and celebrate Christmas. Don’t let someone else’s professionally catered Christmas party or abundance of expensive gifts take away from the joy of Christmas.

2) Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

During the Advent season and Christmas preparations, our healthy habits can easily fall by the wayside. For example, you might grab a quick snack from the convenience store on your way to the mall or skimp on sleep in the rush to get everything done.

The APA’s stress study found that men and women are more ly to engage in unhealthy eating habits to cope with the stress of the holidays (though, it is more common among women). It’s important not to let your self-care practices slide during the holidays.

Yes, your schedule is probably busier than at other points in the year but taking care of yourself (i.e. eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising) will help you to minimize the negative effects the stress of the holidays can have.

Remember that taking care of yourself isn’t being selfish.

3) Schedule Downtime

It can also be helpful to intentionally schedule downtime during the day to help you take a step back from the hectic pace of the holiday season. Whether that’s stopping to take in the Christmas decorations or sitting down for a hot cup of tea or coffee, it’s important to take a break from the rushed pace of the Advent season.

Remember that Advent is a season of waiting. Practicing mindfulness can also be a helpful way to reduce stress and prepare you mind to focus on the spiritual part of preparing for the holidays.

It can be as simple as taking some deep focused breaths while you are waiting in line at the grocery store or engaging all five sense to observe the world around you. (Dr. Greg Bottaro has a program to help you learn more about integrating mindfulness with Christianity if you are interested in taking a deeper approach to it.

) Practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to slow down the hectic pace of the season, reduce stress, and be able to enjoy all the wonderful traditions of Advent before they are gone all too quickly.

4) Incorporate Spiritual Practices Daily

APA’s report on stress also found that 76% of participants reported using prayer to manage stress during the holidays which is an increase from other times of the year.

The study also found that 68% of the study’s participants reported attending religious services as a way to manage stress.

While most of us don’t turn to prayer purely as a stress reliever, it is nice to know that you can experience welcome side benefit when you make the time for prayer.

Prayer and reflection on a daily basis during the Advent season can help you keep focused and can sustain you during the hectic four weeks of Advent. Yes, it may be hard to set aside time during the day but think of it as embracing a Mary approach in a Martha world. Sign up for daily Advent reflections ( Bishop Robert Barron’s) or make a visit to your local church a few times a week.

5) Keep Everything in Perspective

And finally, remember the real purpose behind all of your Christmas preparations.

That way, when the turkey is overcooked or the pile of presents to wrap seems to be growing instead of shrinking, you’ll more easily be able to minimize any stress you might experience when you remember what’s important about the Advent and Christmas seasons. Shifting your perspective can be a game-changer when it comes to reducing stress during the holiday season.

Even though, as Christians, we have a different perspective on Christmas than the marketers and advertisers of our world have, we aren’t immune to experiencing the effects of stress that the Advent and Christmas seasons can bring. But, keeping these five strategies in mind will help you to keep Christ at the center of your preparations despite the hectic and crowded malls, miles and miles of wrapping paper, and long lines at the post office.

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Defeating Holiday Stress: 5 Tips to Help You Stay Jolly

Prayer For Holiday Stress

The holidays are meant to be a jolly ol’ time filled with fun, laughter, and joy — but it doesn’t always work out that way. There’s a lot of pressure that can come with this time of year, and sometimes that pressure can become too much to handle.

And when it gets to be too much, the holidays can turn us into different people and drive us to do or say things we normally wouldn’t do or say. Well, no more of that! With these tips you’ll be able to stave off, or at least reduce, holiday stress.

1. Plan Your Expenses

For many folks, the financial aspect of the holidays is a major stressor: the costs of throwing parties, the expectations of gift giving, the desire to go on vacation, etc. The most exciting time of year also happens to be the most expensive.

It can get to the point where you avoid logging onto your bank account because you’re afraid of what you’ll see. And the worst part is that the longer you avoid it, the more the stress grows.

So, tackle it head on before it snowballs control. You still have time before the holidays hit, which means you can use this time plan ahead. Taking control of your finances is one of the most effective ways to eliminate uncertainty — and, let’s be honest, it’s the uncertainty that tends to be most stressful.

The key is budgeting, a term that isn’t as scary as you think. All you have to do is estimate how much money you can set aside for the holidays, then allocate that money to all the things you want to do. It will be a grand relief knowing that all of it is accounted for and that you won’t be going into debt for it.

Use one of these simple budgeting apps to make this as painless a process as possible. You won’t regret it, I promise. You can also save money by shopping early for the holidays!

2. Use Google Reminders

Busyness is another major stressor during the holidays. You have so much stuff to do — plan parties, shop for gifts, fit events into your calendar, decide trip itineraries, etc. — that you start feeling you can’t keep everything straight.

A to-do list is great for this! We’ve compared the best to-do list apps available so feel free to start using one of them. If you’re already an avid user of OneNote though, you should check out these useful tips for OneNote to-do lists.

But sometimes a to-do list app is too much. The process of adding new items to a list isn’t always quick. What if you’re busy and you remember that you need to do something later but you don’t have the time to tap a million buttons to input a new item on your list? That’s when you need Google Reminders.

All you have to do is say “OK Google, remind me to [task] at [time]” and boom, the reminder is created. When the time comes around, your phone will notify you — and you’ll be able to mark it as done or push it back an hour. It’s so nifty, and it really comes in handy during busy seasons of life.

Check out our in-depth exploration of what Google Reminders can do. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. You can also turn notifications into reminders if you’re so keen.

3. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Imagine if someone told you that you could be a much happier person in just five minutes of effort per day. Would you believe them? Even if you don’t, wouldn’t you at least give it a shot? Five minutes of effort is nothing compared to the possibility of greater happiness, right?

You can achieve that with a gratitude journal. Based upon the principles of positive psychology, regular doses of gratitude can be an effective way to cope with stress and anxiety, and a gratitude journal is a great way to put that into practice.

Every day, jot down a few things for which you’re grateful. They can be minor or major, it doesn’t matter. Gratefulness is powerful either way. Start every day by reading some lines from the journal and eventually you will start to see changes in the way you think.

OneNote can be a great tool for keeping gratitude notes.

For the holidays, you can even start a gratitude bowl. Members of your family should take a slip of paper, write something for which they’re grateful, and add it to the bowl. Every night, read through them. Do this for the duration of the holidays and you might just find that everything is a bit more bearable.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of letting go and focusing entirely on the present, not being bogged down by the past and not being hindered by the future. It can be practiced meditatively but it doesn’t have to be. It is, at its core, a state of mind.

One thing that goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness is proper breathing techniques. Fast, shallow breathing can contribute to anxiety and stress while slow, deep breathing can help you relax — not just mentally but physiologically.

Stress-breaking physical activities can help too, such as relaxation yoga. You can combine all three together (mindfulness, breathing, yoga) at the start of your day, or even throughout the day, to wash away unnecessary stress during the holidays.

Get started with these mindfulness mobile apps, these calming apps to destress your mind, and these top yoga channels on .

Other elements of mindfulness include: staying in the moment during conversations, recognizing that perfection isn’t necessary for a successful holiday, and being able to say No when you start to feel overwhelmed.

5. Be Aware of Seasonal Depression

There’s a big difference between clinical depression and seasonal depression. Seasonal depression most often occurs during the winter months due to changes in weather and total amount of sunlight (though it can occur during other seasons for other reasons too).

If you tend to experience big shifts in mood and mentality during the holidays, you may want to consider seasonal depression as a possible cause. Common symptoms may resemble burnout and include:

  • Sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Irritability or restlessness.
  • Fatigue, oversleeping, or difficulty sleeping.
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.

Do not self-diagnose. Consult a medical professional! The good news is that seasonal depression can be treated, particularly with light therapy lamps. A simple lifestyle change this could have a huge impact.

But don’t neglect the impact of technology on mental health either. We don’t know if excessive tech usage causes depression, but it can certainly exacerbate such issues. Addictions to internet, smartphones, social media, video games, and even pornography can make the holidays harder than they need to be.

Face the Holidays with a Smile

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a stressful time. It may feel that way, especially if the past ten years have all been disasters in some way or another, but maybe this year is the year you can turn that around.

Source –

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Holiday Stress: Causes, Management, and More

Prayer For Holiday Stress

Do your shoulders instantly tense up with the thought of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Does your heart skip a beat when you think about spending the entire day with your extended family during the most wonderful time of the year? Does the thought of a revolving balance on your credit card from overspending keep you up at night?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Money and family responsibilities are some of the top sources of stress in America.

Before the stress of the holidays sneaks up on you, read on to learn how to enjoy your most stress-free holiday season yet.

Holiday stress can affect anyone, even children. There are a lot of expectations around the holidays. Many people associate the holidays with social gatherings, rituals, and happy memories. These expectations can lead to stress.

It can quickly become overwhelming to make every meal award-worthy and every wrapped gift look perfect.

Finding the time to attend every party, or feeling you haven’t been invited to enough parties can cause stress.

When you add the financial burden, travel, and visiting family members, stress can start to pile up. There’s also a desire to cram in every tradition and event to make sure each day is memorable.

Finally, the holidays can also be a difficult time of the year for people who have lost friends and family members. The memory of their loss can add to other sources of stress and hurt even more.

There are many simple ways to deal with holiday stress, but first you need to understand your stress triggers. Do certain situations cause you to feel stressed? When you feel stressed, pause and think about what’s causing it. The activity you’re doing at the time may not be the cause of your stress. Once you understand what triggers your stress, use these six simple tips to de-stress.

1. Plan Ahead

Finding time for all of your holiday activities can be tricky. On top of your holiday commitments, you may also have to deal with increased traffic, especially around malls. Or you may feel extra pressure to get ahead of work so that you can take time off to travel.

Creating an action plan can help to relieve stress. Write down all of the things you need to do so that you can prioritize the things that are most important. You will also be less ly to forget something if you have a list.

2. Put Yourself First

With such a huge focus during the holidays on giving, it can be easy to forget to give back to yourself. Taking care of yourself will improve your mood and make it easier for you to take care of others.

Set aside some time to do things you enjoy. Find time to exercise, plan a dinner out, or just get a few minutes of fresh air. And don’t forget the importance of a regular good night’s sleep.

Read more: Exercise as stress relief »

3. Keep Your Finances in Check

If you’re worried about your spending and how it will affect you after the holidays are over, be realistic about what you can afford to spend. The sentiment behind a gift is more important than the cost.

Create a budget and stick to it. Spend only what you can afford, and if you don’t have the ability to spend anything, bake a treat or offer your talents and time to your friends and loved ones.

4. Honor Loved Ones You Have Lost

It may be difficult to celebrate the holiday season if you’ve lost someone dear to you or distance makes it difficult to spend time together.

Spend this holiday season reflecting on special memories and how you will honor the person you lost by doing something meaningful in their honor. If you’re unable to spend time with loved ones, volunteer your time to a local organization where your smiling face could change someone’s day. Their smile could most certainly warm your heart.

5. Indulge in Moderation

Indulge in foods that you may only have once a year, but don’t forget the importance of healthy eating as well.

A glass of eggnog or five sugar cookies for breakfast isn’t going to completely derail your eating plan. But it’s not a realistic way to eat every day during the holidays.

Not only will it leave you feeling ill, but also the pounds will quickly sneak up on you. Everything in moderation is key this time of year.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

It’s okay to say “no,” and the more you say it, the easier it will get. Say “yes” to the events and things that you know will bring you joy. Say “no” to obligations that you know will cause you heartache and disappointment.

If working a few extra hours of overtime will make you happy so you can treat your mom to her first new television in twenty years, do it. But if your neighbor that you’re not too fond of invites you to a holiday party, feel free to decline.

You’ll be happy that you did.

If you’ve tried the tips above and your mood hasn’t improved, speak to your doctor. Just sharing your feelings with your doctor may help you feel better. If not, your doctor can discuss prescription medications or other treatment plans that might be able to help.

When it comes to stress, it’s important to listen to what your body and mind are telling you. If a situation is too stressful, ask yourself why it’s stressful and what you can do to better manage your stress. Not only will this help you to deal with holiday stress, but it can also help you better manage stress throughout the year.

Could my holiday stress be caused by major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern?

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern can be difficult to differentiate from holiday stress. The major difference is the duration and severity of your symptoms.

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern must meet all of the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, including symptoms and duration of symptoms.

The criteria for this condition are significantly different than feeling “down in the dumps” for a day or two, or having anxiety about holiday events. If you suspect that you’re having a b major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, consult your doctor immediately.

Timothy J. Legg, PMHNP-BC, GNP-BC, CARN-AP, MCHESAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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Passover and Easter

Prayer For Holiday Stress

The frequent overlapping of Easter and Passover — of the Christian Holy Week with our eight-day celebration of Passover — merits attention. Un the yoking of Christmas and Hanukkah, Easter and Passover are festivals of equal gravity. Side by side they bring to light the deep structures of both religions.

Looking for Passover-Easter resources for interfaith families? Click here!

Scheduled to Coincide in the Spring

First, their inviolable matrix is spring. In each case, the calendar is adjusted to ensure that the holiday is celebrated early in the spring.

For the church, which believed that the resurrection took place on a Sunday, the First Council of Nicaea in 325 determined that Easter should always fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox.

In consequence, Easter remained without a fixed date but proximate to the full moon, which coincided with the start of Passover on the 15th of the Hebrew month Nissan.

By the same token, the rabbis understood the verse “You go free on this day, in the month of Aviv” (Exodus 13:4) to restrict Passover to early spring — that is in a transitional month when the winter rains end and the weather turns mild. The word “Aviv” actually means fresh ears of barley.

Moreover, since the Torah had stipulated that the month in which the exodus from Egypt occurred should mark the start of a new year (Exodus 12:2), the end of the prior year was subject to periodic extension in order to keep the Jewish lunar calendar in sync with the solar year.

Thus, if the barley in the fields or the fruit on the trees had not ripened sufficiently for bringing the omer [the first barley sheaf, which was donated to the Temple] or the first fruits to the Temple, the arrival of Passover could be delayed by declaring a leap year and doubling the final month of Adar (Tosefta Sanhedrin 2:2).

In short, Easter and Passover were destined to coincide time and again.

Both Festivals Emphasize History and Hope

Second, in both festivals nature and history converge with a resounding message of hope. The renewal of nature that comes with spring amplifies the promise of redemption embedded in the historical events being commemorated. To each faith community, God’s presence manifests itself in two keys, in nature and through history.

Yet, in both, the preferred medium is history, a legacy of the biblical shift to monotheism. Judaism and Christianity rest firmly on the foundation stories recounted ritually in their respective spring festivals. In Egypt, the family of Jacob had morphed into a nation welded together by the bitter experience of oppression.

Redemption by God imbued them with the national mission to create a body politic of a nobler order.

Though their descendants failed, the body of religious literature which recorded their efforts and voiced their ideals would challenge humanity even as it would comfort them in their long exile.

To recall the exodus in dark times nurtured the yearning for a future restoration, which is why Passover ends with the reciting of a haftarah [prophetic reading] that bristles with this-worldly messianism (Isaiah 10:32-12:6).

If Passover is largely about Egypt, Easter is largely about Passover. Its historical setting is Jerusalem at Passover, the Last Supper could well have been an embryonic seder, and Jesus is fated to become the paschal lamb. Indeed, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church calls Easter “The Christian Passover” (no. 1170) and speaks of the “Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross” (no. 57).

The good news is that the death of one has the capacity to save many. The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate affirmation of life or in the words of the Byzantine liturgy:

Christ is risen from the dead!Dying, he conquered death;

To the dead, he has given life (no. 638).

Finally, because the message of both festivals is so central to the belief system of each faith community, it interlaces the liturgy year round.

In the Haggadah we read that Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah was already advanced in years before he fathomed that the exodus from Egypt should be recalled by every Jew twice daily, in the evening as well as in the morning.

That is the reason for the addition at the third paragraph of the Shema [a prayer said twice daily] in which this bedrock fact is affirmed. God’s compassion obliges us to sanctify our lives.

Correspondingly, for Catholics and many Protestants the weekly sacrament of communion, reenacting the last supper, turns God’s saving grace into a lived reality.

Passover is Communal, While Easter is Individual

Still for all their commonalities, Passover and Easter diverge fundamentally.

While both festivals are about delivery from a state of despair, be it slavery or sin, Passover heralds the birth of the Jewish people as a force for good in the comity of nations.

In contrast, Easter assures the individual Christian life eternal. Passover summons Jews collectively into the world to repair it; Easter proffers a way a world beyond repair.

Passover reflects a worldview that devalues life after death and privileges the community over the individual. Easter bespeaks a religion that reverses both sets of priorities, enabling it to comfort those who had lost faith in the gods of Rome.

Passover’s Connection to Rosh Hashanah

It is well known that Passover is not the only Jewish new year, that in fact it came to share that role with Rosh Hashanah.

Whereas our months are numbered from Nisan [when Passover falls], the years are counted from Tishrei [the month in which Rosh Hashanah falls].

The reason for that anomaly is the development of Rosh Hashanah, after the canonization of the Hebrew Bible, perhaps concomitantly with the emergence of Christianity, into a festival that addressed itself solely to the fate of the individual.

The Mishnah stresses that on Rosh Hashanah alone God has “all inhabitants of the world pass before Him, flocks of sheep” (Rosh Hashanah 1:2). On the other three pilgrimage festivals, including Passover, the world is judged by God collectively.

The expansion of the nameless first day of the seventh month, when loud blasts were to be sounded (Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1), into a solemn day of judgment for every single member of humanity suggests a Jewish response to a society with a heightened sense for the importance of the individual.

The result, however, is not a transformation of Judaism. Its deep structure remains intact. Rosh Hashanah joins Passover; it does not replace it. While the valence of the individual is definitely elevated, the priority of the group is not devalued. Judaism continues to be animated by a spirit of communitarianism.

wise, the dominant orientation stays this-worldly. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not about getting into heaven.

Our profusion of prayers carries aloft a modest request of God: to give us but one more year to try again, to live our life in such a manner as to make a difference. Our task is to mend the world, not flee it.

The retention of two new years, one in the spring, the other in the fall, bespeaks the remarkable effort to keep polarities in balance.

Reprinted with permission of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Prep for Passover a pro with this special email series.Click here to sign up and you’ll receive a series of helpful, informative, and beautiful emails that will help youget the most the holiday.

Pronounced: uh-DAHR, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish month usually coinciding with February-March.

Pronounced: nee-SAHN, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish month, usually coinciding with March-April.

Pronounced: roshe hah-SHAH-nah, also roshe ha-shah-NAH, Origin: Hebrew, the Jewish new year.

Pronounced: TISH-ray, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish month, usually coinciding with September-October.

Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.

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Full Frontal Magic: Five Ways to use Spirituality to Break the Holiday Stress (and Bring Happiness)

Prayer For Holiday Stress
PeteLinforth /

You do not need to be stressed about the holidays. No, really, you don’t, but just saying that isn’t going to stop it.

This blog gives five spiritual techniques to break down and transform the stress of the holidays. Last blog post, I focused on using food as talismans to bring about peace and tranquility.

  Hidden in that longer blog were many magical hints and practical magical lessons.

990609 /

Take Breaks When You Can

Unfortunately, most families will not just “let” you just get up and stretch to go outside (unless you are a smoker).

I think many of us have the experience that family will barrage you with micro (or not so micro) aggressions if you do not comport to the implicit expectations and obligations of behaviors demanded of you. Realize two things.

First, yes, some family members are trying to get under your skin. Second, you can control your reactions.

If you thought about it and have any contentious relationships in your family, interacting with family can be closer to work, especially in our post civility world. We would not work for 5 -6 hours with no breaks.  Going to the bathroom is always fair game and no one will stop you. If anyone complains about the bathroom trips, you can just blame it on the booze and the coffee.

When you are in the bathroom, perform a banishing or centering. Any banishing or centering you know well can work. I will perform an astral version of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and do so in my astral temple.

In Hands On Chaos Magic, I give an example of using “excretory magic” using all five of your senses to know the stress and negativity expelling from your body during the biological “bathrooming act”. Really the technique is simple, do the thing and as it’s happening just focus on the negativity draining as you do the thing.

By “the thing”, I am sure you know what I mean. This technique is funny, but it is very effective.

johnhain /

Give Yourself More Time

When you are shopping or running errands, say at Target, take the time to have that mocha and build the time into your errand running for self-care. A simple method I use for errand running.

Estimate the time in the holidays for running errands, double it and then use that extra time for “Me time” (either just sipping a cappuccino or sitting with a cappuccino and doing some sort of astral meditation/centering).

For some of us, the crowds and their stress have a very negative effect. Remember to take care of yourself.

Reading that, I know some of you would say no no, I can’t. Repeat after me, I am worth it. Just keep repeating that for a while, then give yourself the time.

Practice Gratitude of Some Sort

johnhain /

Gratitude practice is really all the rage in many new age circles.

On the simplest side of things, gratitude practice could be just making sure to thank anyone and everyone that we have been directly or indirectly helped by (which is very effective).

In the west, many pressures form around the holidays to spend more money (perhaps more then we have), to compare ourselves with others (and judge ourselves), and meet so many obligations.

For me, I want to give my kids what they want, but that appetite is sometimes insatiable. These obligations invite comparisons because it looks other people are able to handle all of them easily.

I can guarantee no one is meeting those obligations psychically unscathed, but the illusion is that we make everything work.

Gratitude practice does bring in some Buddhist ideas into our daily practice, but allows us to instead focus on right now, and what is good right now in this moment.  Here is one fast technique that can help.

This is borrowed, yet modified from Vajragupta’’s book, Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life.

  1. Settle yourself in a relaxed posture. Take a few deep, calming breaths to relax and center. Let your awareness move to your immediate environment: all the things you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  2. Next, bring to mind those people in your life to whom you are close: your friends, family, partner…. Say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
  3. Next, turn your attention onto yourself: you are a unique individual, blessed with imagination, the ability to communicate, to learn from the past and plan for the future, to overcome any pain you may be experiencing. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”

Finally, rest into the realization that life is a precious gift. That you have been born into a period of immense prosperity, that you have the gift of health, culture and access to spiritual teachings. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”

geralt /

Novelty Can Help

Going along with the gratitude, inserting just a bit of novelty into our lives can greatly break stress and bring happiness. In my Shapeshifting Course, I talk about the need to shapeshift our routines to help cause neuro-plasticity to help break our own bad patterns.

It turns out, our happiness also tends to lessen over time if we do the same actions or things that used to bring us happiness over and over. Psychology calls this hedonic adaptation.  We simply have a neural mechanism to automate and stop paying attention to routine things and that means that the routine things that used to make us happy, stop doing so.

In my Shapeshifting Course, I talk about how this can affect your magic as well.

Fortunately, small changes really can change this effect. Do you usually get your coffee with cream and use this as a break? Add cinnamon or another flavor you enjoy.

   Do you usually use a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to banish negativity and find that it’s not really working as well anymore? Try some Chakra balancing. Work getting in the doldrums?  Change the physical routine and order in which you do tasks.

Holiday rituals getting super stressful? Change the normal menu or add a single thing to the menu.

Little or even one change to any routine can transform the routine allowing some of the happiness to return. As the Chinese say, “A single joy, dispels a thousand miseries.”

Alexas_Fotos /

Connect to Your Spirits

I carry a mala (it is a rosary) with me all the time as well as a few talismans for the Lwa (being a Vodou priest and all). You might think I do this for protection or benefits, and that is partially true, but is much more than that.

Taking these items are physical reminders that I have many friends in the spiritual sense. If you do magic and have these connections, remind yourself of them. Life (as we live it here in the US) tends to distract you until you forget.

I tend to connect to my “spiritual friends network” in my breaks, either in mantra work or mediation.

Even if you cannot get to a formal alter while traveling, you can work with these spirits through things you have linked to the spirit.

If it is small and was on your altar for a period of time, you can bet it has the right resonance. If you want to get into the mechanics of how to do this, Hands On Chaos Magic details this more thoroughly.

Even if you are able to do one of the 5 things, I promise you will see an improvement in your mood throughout the holidays and really let you experience the holidays in a more joyous fashion, despite any distractions which might give you a momentary stress hiccup.

Regardless of what you celebrate, Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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