The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Ah, December. Time for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, holiday parties, family gathers...

For some of us, it's the most "triggering" time of year!! If you have a minute or two, this SNL skit really shows the lighter side of having Christmas spirit... take a look.

I know as much as I want to take time to be present, to make it not just about presents, to value the time with my family-- it's not always easy. I have so many pre-conceived notions about what a "perfect" family get together is and the pressure can really get to me. Here are 5 tips I use for getting through the holidays and finding your zen (and yes, Mom, now you know my secrets):

1) Meditation: it's not just for yoga people! Take a 5 minute break or start and end your day with a short meditation. The Headspace app makes it easy. Even with a house full of people, you can excuse yourself for a few minutes to take time to find some peace and do some self-care. I love this app so much because you can just plug in and zone out for as short as 5 minutes or as long as you like.

2) Diffuse Oils to keep calm and carry on Some of the most powerful essential oils to keep us grounded, harmonized, and centered are Ginger, Frankincense, Patchouli, and Cedarwood. I like diffusing these so everyone gets the calming and mood-boosting benefits. Win-win! The Balance blend is another of my faves. Add a drop to your body lotion in the morning before the chaos begins and apply a drop to your wrists throughout the day to keep you calm and centered.

3) Take a hike Or a walk. Or drive to the store. Just get yourself out and have some alone time for a few minutes to re-center yourself and re-charge. People don't need to know where you're going, most times they won't even miss you. And if they do, isn't it nice to know you're missed and loved?

4) Drink your water If you need any inspiration to drink your water, remember this guy. You're welcome. This time of year is very dry and when you're body is dehydrated you are less able to deal with stress, anxiety-- everything. "Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” says Amanda Carlson, RD So try this app to keep you drinking your water!

5) Be grateful And don't keep it to yourself. Share your gratitude for others with your family and friends. Your feelings of gratitude will actually increase when you express that same gratitude to the people you care about. And you'll see a ripple effect that will pleasantly surprise you and make the holidays more meaningful and memorable.

Ultimately, remember that whatever ideas of “holiday” you’re dreaming of, people don't change, stuff will happen, things will be said... Try to embrace and embody the fullness of your best self, and resort to your favorite self-care tools to remind you just how beautiful you are (the way you are!) inside and out.