1) DON'T answer the phone when you see its your annoying neighbour calling to look after his plants while he jets off to Mexico for the holidays. Taking on too many things during this time of year (when there are already so many things to do), even if they're small, can feel like big deals. Try not to bite off more than you can chew. And if you do happen to do it, do it with a smile!
2) DO answer the phone when you see your friend is calling to have a gab session. Maintaining connections with the people that keep us sane is really helpful and grounding during this hurried season.
3) DON'T sweat the small stuff or any stuff you deem as stupid. Stupid things drain our energy and weigh us down. Toss all the stupid stuff. Stupid stuff can be when you smile at a stranger and they don't smile back; when people don't thank you when you've held the door open for them and the other 10 members of their super slow walking family; when you let the guy driving in the lane beside you in front of you and he doesn't give you the ole "thanks" wave. These are nice to receive, but let your gesture of good will be its own reward - not conditioned upon others who might be having a really tough day themselves.
4) DO sweat during mild to moderate exercise to reduce stress. Do yoga or anything else that challenges your body and mind, and reduces stress. Why wait until the new year to start an exercise program when you could really use the benefit of this resolution now. You'll feel great physically and mentally, you'll be sharper and more mindful about all the choices you have to make this season.
5) DON'T laugh in your husbands face when he makes you “Christmas Tacos” (trust me on this one). Hey, he cooked for you...just eat it. Food can be such a hot topic. Exercise fanatics and personal trainers are all, "don't eat that, it's bad for you!" I'm all, "eat whatever the heck you want." But eat it with awareness. Place the scrumptious cookie in your mouth, and notice just how amazing it tastes. When you do this, you'll find that you only need 1 or 2 cookies instead of ploughing through the whole batch in one sitting. But be responsible for your health. If you have diseases that have come your way as a result of your eating habits, don't take this blog, hide in a closet with Grandma's Christmas Baking and say "but she said I could eat this crap!" If you've got yourself to the state that your ole ticker is tuckered and the blood sugar levels are like maple syrup... PUT THE COOKIES DOWN! And practice the discipline and delight of saving your life. But if you know you never eat a lot of junk for the other 51 weeks of the year, why not enjoy yourself and savour mindfully the yumminess of the...Christmas Tacos?
6) DO enjoy time with your significant other and laugh a lot with them. Laughter brings ease into relationships and a closeness that this holiday season was originally supposed to be about. Our primary relationships can be tossed on the back burner or we can become enemies with the ole "How much did you spend at the mall today?" "who me? I didn't go to the mall, honey?" "oh, that's not what the bank said when they came to take the house." Laugh and be clean with your communications. Prepare for the holiday with your spouse - financially, emotionally, and in all the other ways (wink, wink) that will help to bring closeness to you and your partner.
7) DON'T forget your body armour and full face hockey helmet while shopping in the mall. There are a lot of single-minded psycho's out there. They're normally a level headed grown up most of the year, but December hits and BAM! They loose it. They're the ones who only have their eyes on getting this year's 'gotta have' toy for their kids. They might appear all put together, but they will knock you on your ass before they let you leave the store with their kids toy.
8) DO take some deep mindful breaths before entering the mall. If you got a parking spot at the mall, even if it was 1.5 kms away, at this point in your holiday shopping, count yourself lucky. Before you get out of the car, take 5 deep full breaths, making your exhales a couple of seconds longer than your inhales to relax you. Be prepared for chaos in the mall, but keep your breaths flowing so you don't get hooked into it.
9) DON'T forget the charities that could use your help this season. It's so easy to donate food to the foodbank or cash to the Salvation Army this year. Our community makes it really accessible to help out. But sometimes we're tight for cash or food ourselves. Helping out can mean offering to pick up groceries for your elderly neighbour who has a hard time getting around. Or it could be holding the door open with a smile and a "have a nice day." to the stranger at the mall. Charity is about finding what is within us to give so that others might benefit.
10) DO decide to have a wonderful holiday season. A 'happy' holiday isn't luck. It's the decision to think the thoughts that bring happiness and peace, and then acting in accordance with our thoughts so that we can share this peace with everyone.
Happy Holidays to you and yours! Thanks for making 2012 such a great year!