While the holidays can be a joyful and festive season, for many of us it is a challenging and painful time of year.

If you are entering the season with a tender heart, here are a few suggestions for coping with kindness and care:

Keep it simple
If you are feeling overwhelmed, put down the bells and whistles. Keep it simple by choosing just the activities and traditions that feel nourishing.  Giving ourselves permission to do the minimum is such an act of grace and compassion. (note: that last sentence is worth reading again!)

Skip an event
You can be honest or make up an excuse.  If sharing the real reason doesn’t feel possible or comfortable, saying you have come down with cold or flu symptoms is a very reasonable and trustworthy way to sidestep any gathering without causing hurt feelings.

Have a plan
If you do skip an event(s), have something planned that you enjoy doing and generates a sense of well-being.  If you do attend, it can be helpful to prepare a code word with your partner or a trusted friend so they can help initiate an ‘out’ and have a pre-planned reason for why it’s time to leave.

Feel joy
Sadness and joy can coexist.  Even while right in the midst of feeling tender, allowing ourselves to be touched by beauty is a wonderful way to resource wellbeing.  Linger for a moment in the senses….noticing the sounds of birds, watching the way the branches of a tree sway with a breeze, feeling the warmth from a sunbeam through the window,.  Our senses help connect us to the immediacy of the present moment and we can savour the aliveness that is here.

Wishing you much gentleness, kindness, and care as you move through this holiday season.

ps – If you are TTC or pregnant and looking for ways to support your wellbeing in the new year, here are two offerings to consider:

Mindfulness for Fertility – classes begin Jan.17, visit www.mindfulnessforfertility.com

Early Pregnancy Loss Mindfulness Group – classes begin Jan.12, visit www.westcoastperinatalcare.com