Hello everyone!

While Christmas is one of the most exciting and favorite times of the year for some people, for some others is a very stressful period that brings up a variety of emotions such as depression, grief, anxiety, frustration, anger and disappointment. Family gatherings and meetings with old or unwanted acquaintances can be chaotic and can trigger you BIG TIME. In case you are dealing with a difficult situation like a break up, a sickness, the loss of a loved one or if living alone or far from home, things can get even more intense and throw you off balance.
Here you will find some tips that will help you stay sane and centered during this time of the year:

1) If you feel overwhelmed or that "it's getting too much" give yourself permission to take some distance and spend some time alone. Take a walk, meditate, go for some exercise, read a book, take a long bath, treat yourself with a massage or a any other type of selfcare treatment. Do anything that calms your system down and makes you feel nurtured and safe.

2) Remember: when dealing with a toxic person or a toxic environment, it is OK to WALK AWAY. It is your right and your obligation to do the best you can to take care of yourself.

3) Respect your time and your needs. This time of the year requires that you are extra alerted and conscious of your boundaries. Say NO to anything you don't feel like doing or saying. There are many types of boundaries: time boundaries (saying NO to an invitation/suggestion that takes more than your available time), physical boundaries (saying NO to an activity you don't want to do), verbal boundaries (saying NO to a conversation you don't wish to have), emotional boundaries (reminding yourself that you are not responsible for other people's feelings, do not try to fix them). Violating your boundaries and ignoring your needs will make you feel drained and exhausted. Choose to make yourself a priority for this vacation and be aware of where you want to spend your energy.

4) You don't need to agree to what others project on you or to what they expect of you. Get rid of guilt and of fear of disappointing or of letting others down and make sure that you don't do the same to them. Having high hopes or unrealistic expectations from others can take you on a long journey down the rabbit hole and ruin your mood for good.

5) You don't need to do everything alone. It is ok to ask people for help. It is important that you take time to rest and charge your batteries, because if you start giving from "your empty cup" you will soon feel resentment for others and this can have a heavy toll in the connection and the communication you have in your relationships.

6) Honor your individuality and uniqueness and try to avoid comparing yourself to others. Write a list with all the things that you like and value about yourself; things that you wouldn't trade with anyone else (e.g. being kind, generous, truthful, honest, caring, funny etc...) Carry that list with you and check it out whenever in doubt. When you discover and realize something new that you like about yourself, add it to your list.

Learning to love ourselves is a journey, so don’t be harsh on yourself while you’re in the learning process. Be patient, keep space for your transformation and learn from the lessons. Do the best that you can to take care of your needs and don’t forget to acknowledge and be grateful for your progress.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!