It’s the holiday season. Our stockings have been hung by the chimney with care. We have decked our halls. My holiday linens and dishes have been pulled from storage to grace my table, and my porcelain nativity has been placed under one of the Christmas trees.  There is something about this time of year that draws me inward and makes me feel so connected with my own heart and the other souls in the world.

Yet, to be honest, I was experiencing a mild bout of stress and blues before Thanksgiving.  I was edgy and cranky and feeling a tad disconnected from my own heart.  Instead of beating myself up about it, though, I approached my funk with curiosity.

What did I discover?  In all honesty, I was allowing the stress and crankiness of the outer world to creep into my own energy field.

The elections raised stress levels with all the strong opinions and name calling. The holidays were approaching, propelling people towards family members that triggered all kinds of negative feelings.    There is all this pressure for picture perfect moments and just the right holiday gift for Great Aunt Sally (whom we haven’t seen since last Christmas).

After a quick trip to Target for household basics and a string of colored lights, all I could think was CHOCOLATE, please. There was a sense of urgency and rush, rush, rush.  That was when it really clicked for me!

It’s hard not to get caught up in the feelings and frenzy of people around us.  That kind of energy can be contagious.  Pair that with shorter days and for many, it’s enough to send us to the plate of Christmas cookies and beyond it to a bout of blues!

Well, darling, I don’t know about you, but that isn’t a way I want to feel – especially during the holiday season.

So, how did I ditch my funk and go back to feeling my zen? Here are some tools to guide you:

One – Protect Yourself

The energy of others is contagious.  We can’t avoid going into grocery stores, department stores and restaurants completely.  Before you enter, imagine that you have placed yourself in a BUBBLE.  A magic bubble.  It’s your protection sphere and as you encounters the miserable folks, their negativity will just bounce and not be able to enter your personal space.

Two – Energy is Contagious

Surround yourself with happy and positive people.  Watch a funny movie or TV show before you head out to go shopping.  Smile at others.  Give them your best love, even if you don’t know them.

Three – Get Outside

Seriously, get some fresh air.  Grab an umbrella.  Layer on the clothing.  Wrap a scarf around your neck. Put on a hat. Go for a walk. Feel the wind in your face. Let the light of the sun (or the moon) shine upon you.

Four – Dish

Sometimes, it’s ok to run away – so run away for a few hours with a dear friend. Meet a girlfriend for coffee. Call a friend for a long (or quick) chat.  Grab lunch with your sister. No one close by?  Set up a virtual coffee date on Skype.

Five – Spoon

There’s nothing like full on body contact to release the good endorphins.  Hug. Snuggle. Lean into the warmth of others.  This works with children, pets, and adults.

Six – Get Out of Your Head…

…and into the heads of others.  Read the voices of wise writers.  Watch some Ted Talks. Read a book of poetry.

Seven – Be Thankful

Dive into gratitude.  Make a list of ten things you are thankful for in your life. Go to church. Pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments. Count your blessings instead of sheep when you go to sleep each evening.

Eight – Work

Clean house. Finish a project you’ve been putting off.  Straighten your closet. Write a blog post for your work website. De-fragment your computer.  Scrub away all the old fabric softener stuck to the washing machine (one of my go-tos). Accomplishing something will reset your mind.

Nine – Play

Allow your inner child to have her way. Pull out a Yatzee. Throw your dog a tennis ball.  Turn on some music and dance around the house. Dangle a string for your kitty. Color a pretty picture. Pull out markers and a stack of paper.

Ten 0 Treat Yourself

Go to Starbucks and sit and savor your favorite drink. Buy a piece of good chocolate. Curl up with a good book and a blanket.

Eleven – Laugh

Watch a funny movie.  Read a humorous column. Read some corny jokes. Watch cat videos on YouTube.

Twelve – Cry

Watch a sad movie.  Read Where the Red Fern Grows.  Allow the negativity to flow out with your tears. (You’ll feel better afterwards – trust me!)

Thirteen – Make Love

Sex may not solve every problem, but it’s a good answer to many questions. Get naked and sweaty.  Connect with your lover.  Kiss that spot behind his left ear.  Lick that tender space in the crook of the knee.  Caress his cheek.  Don’t use the excuse that you don’t “feel like it”.  Let your inhibitions go and get naughty.

Fourteen – Dive into Sensuality

Luxuriate in a bubble bath. Stand under the full-blast shower-head. Put on a silk nightie.  Fix a cup of cocoa. Wrap yourself in a fluffy towel.  Dim the lights.  Put your brain on “hold” and just allow your senses to run wild!

Fifteen – Ask

Ask for help. Ask for guidance. Pray for peace. Meditate. Hire a coach.  Find a therapist. Ask a friend to come over to bake cookies.  Hire someone to clean your house.

Sixteen – Give

Dig out the change at the bottom of your purse and put it in a Salvation Army kettle.  Donate clothes that you no longer love to Goodwill. Choose an Angel off of a giving tree.  Write a check to the Humane Society. Volunteer.  Give your clients an extra twenty minutes of your time.

Seventeen – Receive

Allow. Breathe. Love. Experience.  Open your heart. Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and affection.  Remind yourself that it’s ok to be happy. Remind yourself that you deserve to be in love with your life.

Darling, you are human.  It’s easy to take on the energy of others around you.    It’s easy to deal with the Blues during the holiday season. I promise you that if you are kind and gentle to yourself that tomorrow will be a better day (Scarlett O’Hara, anyone?).  Using these tools won’t wave a magic wand over  every bit of funkiness you may have, but they will allow you to armor your heart and soul.

Are you ready to take your level of self-love to the next level?

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