Somehow, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us. Yet, in the middle of such warm and fuzzy feelings, anxiety, waste, and the general feeling of being overwhelmed can creep in. While there are many reasons behind these feelings, a large reason is simply this: we aren't consciously making choices about the way we spend our time and money around the holidays.
Waste (and lots of it!), Consumerism (and lots of it!), and poor boundaries (and lots of it!) can impact the way we feel and experience the magic of the holiday season. Here are some statistics to show you a bit of what I mean:
500 Tons of Christmas Lights are thrown away each year *
Those with anxiety and other mental health issues report feeling increased symptoms during the holidays**
Nearly half of the entire world's toys are in the United States***
While we participate in these events that celebrate family and togetherness, many of us feel alone. While we exchange gifts, many of us feel the pressure of expected consumerism all around us. While we can't change everything (and I am not suggesting that we do), we can do better. Here are some ways to have a conscious holiday season!
1.) Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness has been getting a lot of buzz, and for good reason. It allows us to take stock of our here and now and not get ahead of ourselves. When you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to take a breath and notice the sights, smells, and sounds of your location. Allow yourself to be completely present and take away the stressors of the season.
2.) Pay Attention: How are you coping with your holiday season thus far? Are you snappy and aggressive? Are you withdrawn? Are you doing great? Pay attention to how you feel throughout your day and check in with yourself. What do you need to do to have a better attitude? Do you need to say "no" to a few events? Do you need to practice gratitude? There are simple ways to make your holiday season more enjoyable, but you need to pay attention to your own patterns to make those changes.
3.) Shop More Meaningful Gifts: If you are concerned about the waste and the marginalized communities that encounter this waste, you can commit to purchasing more meaningful gifts. If you are a part of a secret santa, try these earrings for your sister. If you want get a fun gift for your brother, try a hand-made and no-waste soap. Try a fun gift duo for your mother, or a comfy sweat-shop free tee for your dad. Make a donation to an organization you believe in or through a social enterprise that gives back. This is a way to convey your heart to your family and friends, as well as share about these cool brands giving back.
4.) Cultivate the Kind of Christmas or Holiday that You Feel Peace About: We are all on a journey to knowing how to do better in our world. There are a number of little ways to keep your own sanity, make a dent in the waste that is created each holiday, and to have a holiday season that you feel proud of and good about. What are some ways you're doing this? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!