Many years ago, I released holiday obligations and anything that elevated my stress levels, and then an interesting thing happened – I didn’t feel more holiday joy; I felt less. How odd is that?

I had become so accustomed to holiday stress that the season felt off-kilter and uncomfortable without it.

So, as you watch the 3-minute video below and implement the tip shared here, keep in mind that there’s an adjustment period when integrating new approaches and welcoming new rituals that serve your well-being. You may feel uncomfortable and even a bit guilty.

Consider this…

  • The American Psychological Association found that, on average, more women than men report feeling stressed around the holidays. (American Psychological Association)
  • More women than men shoulder the responsibility of holiday shopping and planning and report stress from the limited time available to get everything done. (APA)

As you’ve often read here, women are conditioned to please and to feel guilty when we’re not “doing” for others.

Here’s a thought – pause before saying “yes” and ask yourself, “will this bring me joy, or am I doing this because we’ve always done it that way?” 

Do this holiday season differently.

Also, not only are you doing something beautiful for yourself, but simply by leading by example, you may also give someone else permission to do the holidays differently.

I can think of no gift greater than slowing down, enjoying the moment, being present for loved ones, and saying “NO” to holiday commercialism, obligations, and anything that raises your stress level.


With gratitude to Athena Burke, my friend who, a decade ago, spoke the profound words shared in this video with me.

“The cause of despair is the sentences at the back of our minds, all of which contain the word ‘should.” – Abhaidev

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