It’s the season for peace and joy, but sometimes it feels like the season of frantic and frazzled. It’s so easy to get swept into the constantly turning holiday wheel, with events several nights each week, making plans and lists, entertaining family and friends, shopping, cooking and taking care of everyone except yourself. Perhaps your holiday plans require traveling to faraway places, through busy airports or on crowded highways, luggage bulging with gifts. The expectations upon us can be overwhelming.

It’s possible that by turning inward and setting our intention for a peaceful and joyous December, that’s exactly what we’ll manifest. It’s simple, really. Be the architect of your environment.  Start each day with a 3-minute gratitude bath. Immerse yourself in appreciation for the simple joys in your life. You’ll instantly feel your energy shift to lightness. Hold onto that feeling as the day closes in and begs you to overcommit your time and energy. Repeat the gratitude exercise as needed to keep your energy light and bright. Immerse in a sound bath of your favorite music throughout your day. Whether in your home, office or vehicle, listen to music that you enjoy. In contrast, the continuous flow of doom and gloom delivered by network news causes stress and worry, which suffocates feelings of peace and joy. A few minutes online is all we need to stay caught up on current events. Diffuse uplifting essential oils in every room. I’m drawn to spruce, citrus and cinnamon at this time of year. Surround yourself with things that are pleasing to your senses, and your energy will stay bright. Be mindful of your diet, carefully selecting foods that are nourishing. Everything that passes your lips will either support optimal health or cause your body stress. Choose wisely. Make time each day for exercise and enjoy the surge of endorphins.

Keep your commitments to a minimum, attending only the activities you’re drawn to. Send a gift basket with regrets instead of stressing over fitting multiple events into an already tight calendar. If you’re expected to entertain, consider an open house rather than a formal dinner, for a more relaxed vibe and less pressure to orchestrate the timing of several dishes. Set up a buffet so you can relax and enjoy your guests. This practice of self-care will be noticed by family and friends, who will also benefit by adopting these simple practices.

Selecting gifts for others is another source of stress, easily diffused by simple mindfulness. Instead of searching for trendy gadgets, sparkly adornments, and brand names that impress, choose gifts to support physical and emotional health. A package of life coaching sessions, meditation or yoga classes, spa treatments, essential oils, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, spiritual healing, energy work, acupuncture and health club memberships are just a few ideas. If you absolutely must have a boxed gift, consider a juicer, fermented food maker, yogurt maker, essential oil diffuser or pedometer. My perfect gift is a trifecta including a Meyer’s cocktail IV infusion, acupuncture treatment, and massage therapy—in case anyone asks. Trust your intuition and select healing gifts to nourish your close circle of friends and family. Your search for the perfect gift can start and end with this edition of Natural Awakenings. Our wellness partners offer gift certificates, and many have baskets and bundles to make gift giving easy and affordable.

May your holidays shine bright and be filled with all the things you love.