December signifies a time of togetherness and relationships for many reasons. Still, holiday gatherings can come with some inevitable clashes and stressors. Read on for some tips on how to sail more smoothly through rough waters and get the most of your celebrations



We Gather Together

The month of December is a time of many religious observations and secular celebrations. For the majority of the population in the United States, these upcoming weeks will be a time of preparation for Christmas. Others will be honoring Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Eid Milad UnNabi, Kwanzaa, Id al-Adha, the Winter Solstice, etc.  Due to the fact that America has historically been marked by religious pluralism and diversity, even those who have no sacred traditions will still gather among loved ones who share a common bond and wish to celebrate their relationships. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Unfortunately, the real world isn’t always as rosy as a happy holiday sitcom, especially when expectations and demands are high. For some, “forced family togetherness” can trigger additional stress, emotional upheaval, and energy drain. Furthermore, FOMO can add to the attack of fragile emotions by comparing our holiday calamities to the joy-filled moments posted on friends’ social media pages.

Holiday stress can also take a toll on us physically. In fact, it was recently reported that the pressure to make things “perfect,” may put women at risk for heart problems. In another recent study, authors supported the concept that “Chronically high anxious arousal and inflammation increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” Top off anxiety with a little pumpkin pie…and it may cause some blood sugar issues. (Hmm, maybe some essential oils could help support healthy blood sugar and mitigate stress?)


The Power of What Is

What if I told you that it’s okay to let yourself off the hook, take a breath, and just be with what is? In fact, some studies show that acceptance of the situation can mitigate negative interactions and effects on well-being and fatigue.

It may be easier to accept your situation more fully if you first turn off your Facebook feed…just temporarily. It may help you to know that if social media projections of perfect celebrations are making you squirm, they may not always be accurate. I would surmise that it is difficult to escape that when different personalities comingle in one space, there will probably be at least a few disagreements or debates. These snapshots may conveniently be missing on one’s twitter feed. That means that behind all those selfie smiles, most everyone will probably experience at least a little blip in their day. And that’s okay.

Therefore, I’ve found with my clients talking about being realistic of potential triggers, self-care strategies, the importance of minimizing participation in heated debates, and finding time for enjoyable moments, have been helpful for them to navigate more safely through “obligatory” mingling.

Below, I’ve listed some of my favorite holiday blogs to share with you this season to support a happier holiday.  I also wrote on my blog how using the power of the mind and relationships can help you “catch” a little more holiday cheer. You can access it here.


Happier Relationship Tips:

9 Tips for Bringing More Peace & Grace to the Holiday

No Drama Holiday- 10 Tips to Avoid Family Traps

More Tips to Prevent the Holiday Blues

When All Else Fails- Watch the Muppet Family Christmas Together


Gift Idea Relief:

10 Healthy Gift Ideas

More Healthy Holiday Gifts

8 Gifts That Foster Compassion


The “You’ve Been Glutenized” or “Food-Cross-Contaminated” Stress

Recover from Holiday Gluten Exposure

  • I use Vitalzyme Complete and/or Digestzymes found on Fullscript (You need to create a free account first.)

Using the “Dish Trick” and Essential Oils


Soothing Your Sweet Tooth for the Nog- Alcohol and Guilt Free

A Healthy Nog Recipe


Happy Holidays everyone!!







(I didn’t forget, Part 2 of the lemongrass article is coming soon.)