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14 Tips to Survive — and Enjoy — the Holidays

images-717The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be unnecessarily so! Remember, you always have a choice to create more peace of mind by accessing inner power to conscious pay attention to what you’re focusing on with your thoughts.  This involves clarifying what you most value, and cultivating the practice of disallowing things of less value to compete. It can be fun!

Here are a few tips:

Make meaningful moments by letting go of judgments of others (and, or your self), and instead, noticing kind acts when they happen, learning to appreciate the different ways your loved ones give, contribute, seek to connect, and so on. Like you, people mean well; give others the benefit of doubt, a gift that you likely want  on occasion as well.

Eat when you are physically hungry, and ask yourself “what am I hungry for” so you may determine whether it’s physical hunger or an emotional need or yearning, such as for connection, understanding, clarity. Why wait? Waste no time and effort searching for the optimal emotion you seek in the world outside. There is much happiness to be gained by giving to your self … and to another … what you most need. Reach out. Share. Hug. Smile often, and much.

Respect yourself by taking good care to choose what is good for your mind, body and emotional (spirit) self. All of your dreams and what you most yearn to realize depend on taking care of what you already have. When you do, you realize there is nothing lacking … and begin to attract more of what you feel inside — let it be a sense of abundance, well being, gratitude for all you have, are, receive and give … at present, even as you stretch to reach what you aspire.

Relish and find pleasure in the seemingly small things in life …it’s little things that add up to change the world. Greet your loved often with a smile, kind eyes, a tender touch. Give a little hope, belief and love here and there, and notice how giving these to others, increases these intensity of these powerful emotional states of mind and body inside you.

Yes, yes … and yes to saying yes more often to yourself, and loved ones. Start by saying yes to your ever present, inner power to connect, to breathe, to transform your emo-physiologgical state of mind and body with your posture, your thoughts, your imagination. Then set an intention to consciously shift thoughts of what you do not want … to thoughts you’re reading to declare yes, yes, YES to! Observe how good it feels to say yes to things and actions that energize and create more of what is GOOD in your life — say yes, just do it!


Create an attitude of gratitude that is focused more on matters of the heart, rather than on tangibles, such as what you own or physical appearance, and so on. Of course, do enjoy beautiful belongings, environments and attire as well, just remind yourself often that you are drawn to beautiful surroundings, and in awe at the beauty of a sunset or flower, ultimately, the essence of beauty is truth and love, and other divine human attributes that connect and bring meaning to our lives and experience.

Hope for the best in all situations, and set an intention to enjoy yourself regardless, if only what situations teach you about yourself, life in and around you. Life seeks to grow and transform us to ever stretch our capacity for love and compassion. Protect your happiness and joy along the way; they lighten the load and smooth the way. Repeat a mantra like, “I may prefer that …., but I can and will be happy and enjoy myself regardless!”

Remember that, like you, your loved ones yearn to be loved and valued for who they are. We have different love languages, and our tendency is to love others the way we yearn to be loved. The yearnings to matter, to feel what we contribute to the lives of loved ones matters, however, can put us at risk, leaving us blind to all the ways our loved ones are seeking to do the same. This makes the ability to receive as vital as giving from the heart.

Inspire yourself and others to make consciously healthy choices for your body-, mind- and emotion- (spirit) self! Every dream and yearning begins inside a human heart. Remind yourself as often as needed that you are fully equipped, as a human being, to conquer and realize a life of happiness and meaning. You have within you the strength, patience, passion to keep reaching for the stars. Look inside, don’t wait.

Spend more time and energy helping others, you’re wired to give and contribute, and live cooperatively enhancing your own life by helping others enhance theirs. Check now and then (especially with children, but also spouses) to make sure the help you offer empowers others to feel capable rather than dependent on you. The yearning to be treated with dignity is connected to the need for those we love to “see” us as capable, effective, strong, and the like.

Treat yourself and your body as you would a cherished friend, with great care, kindness and compassion.

Magnify, in your mind and heart, the good attributes and contributions of others — and do the same for your self and life. Positive images of loved ones are a form of prayer, gifts that keep on giving. Nothing increases our level of happiness than the practice of being happy for the success, talents, strengths of others!

Ask for the courage to change what you can, and the serenity to let go of what you cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. Keep the priceless wisdom from the beloved Serenity Prayer at hand!

Set an intention to savor the love and connection you feel and create — even more than certain foods you delight in. Nothing compares to the results and possibilities for meaning we have the ability to produce with a conscious intention to participate in creating more love and gratitude, hope and belief in life in and around us.

14 Tips to Survive — and Enjoy — the Holidays

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2015). 14 Tips to Survive — and Enjoy — the Holidays. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Dec 2015
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