03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How To Stay Grounded During The Holidays


The holiday season is now in full swing. If you’re anything like me
you probably have mixed feelings about the holidays. I love the
excitement, parties, decorations, rituals, music, gifts, connections,
and more. However, even these fun things can wear on me. And, the
stress, drama, consumption, obligation, expense, and more that often
come along with this time of year are not on my list of “favorite

In addition, I often feel like I’m not doing enough, not on top of
my “list,” and I sometimes worry that I won’t get everything done in
time to make the people in my life happy the way I want to. Can you

This year, especially with all that’s going on around us in the
economy and the world, what if we each made a commitment to appreciate
the holiday season and enjoy the whole experience – regardless of our
circumstances or any external pressure we may feel? Appreciating the
holiday season, as with anything in life, will make it much more
enjoyable and much less stressful.

Instead of rushing around in a high state of anxiety and worry about
crossing every item off of our never-ending to-do list, we could choose
another way – one which will make this holiday season enjoyable, fun,
and peaceful for us and those around us.

Here are a few things we can remember this holiday season to make things more fulfilling and less overwhelming:

1) Take Responsibility for Your Experience. It’s important to
remember that the stress we experience during the holiday season does
not come from the holidays themselves, but from us. We’re always the
creators of our own experience and the more we can remember this and
live our lives from this perspective, the more empowered we are. When
we stop thinking, speaking, and acting as if we’re mere victims of
holiday madness (or anything else in our lives for that matter), we can
dramatically enhance our enjoyment and lower our stress.

2) Remember That You Are at Choice. We always have a choice
about how we engage with anything. This holiday season we can choose to
be annoyed by family members, obligations, forced work gatherings,
crowds, prices, or anything else. Or, we can choose to enjoy the magic
and fun of this time of year. We may not always get to choose the
people and circumstances around us, but we always have a choice about
how we relate to them. Our experience of the holidays (and of life) is
up to us, as it always is.

3) Focus on What You Appreciate About the Holidays.
Consciously choose to focus on the things that you appreciate about the
holiday season the most. Tell the truth about this to yourself and to
those around you. If at all possible, don’t participate in work or
family gatherings out of obligation. But, regardless of where you are,
what you do, or whom you are with – make a commitment to appreciate
what’s happening, the people around you, and the many blessings of this
season and in your life right now.

Even and especially when things are challenging, we always have so
much to be grateful for. At this time of the year, we can take a step
back, breathe deeply, and experience the gratitude we have for our
lives, the people in it, and for ourselves. If not now, then when?

While there are always things for us to do, gifts to buy, gatherings
to attend, and much more going on at this time of year; we can choose
to have this holiday season be one that is filled with authentic peace,
gratitude, and joy – if we’re willing to look for, find, and focus on
what we appreciate.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and
the bestselling author of
Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley)
Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info -