As we enter the holiday season, it’s a good time to go inwards and reflect on the year. It can be very easy to lose our center, due to all the obligations of going to family functions, and the pressure to get presents for our family members, loved ones, and friends. Christmas and New Year’s tend to be the most stressful times of the year for many.

So how can we keep our center and stay grounded in the midst of the chaos of the holiday season? The first thing is to focus on “self-care”, which is totally different than being selfish. Self-care is about making sure you tune into what it is that you want, versus feeling the need to do. Self-care is about putting yourself first, which will then allow you to give more, and be present with co-workers, friends, and loved ones.

Challenge yourself this holiday season to carve out “self-time”, where you schedule and block out time to just be quiet. Right now most of you are thinking, “Yeah right, with all that I have to take care of, I don’t have the time.” The importance of creating self-time is to ensure you take the time to check in and listen to what your intuition and inner voice is conveying. Sometimes your intuition will guide you to send regrets to certain dinner engagements and be more selective in how you want to spend your time during the holiday season.

Next take time to reassess how your year went, which will give you an overview of what things worked, what changes you made, and what you want to keep or discard in the new year. Reflect and see whether or not you are happy with the life that you are living. If you are not, then start mapping out now, the things that you can do, and address in the new year, to move towards the life you so desire. If you are living the life you love, then look to see if it can be enhanced in any area or just pat yourself on the back and say, “Good job staying on track.” You only have one life to live, and see if this quote resonates or not: It’s not how many breaths you take, but how many experiences take your breath away. By focusing more on what you want in your life, especially if it is aligned with what’s most important to you, the likelihood of you manifesting it increases exponentially.

The biggest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones at this time, is the gift of self-love. What I have discovered is that the multitude of health ailments, pains, health crises, and diseases are rooted in not taking care of oneself, essentially lacking self-love. Valuing yourself fully, not only serves you, but also benefits everyone you come into contact with. I cannot urge this point strongly enough, but by loving yourself, accepting your dark and light sides, and being grateful for every breath you take, will ensure a joyous and memorable holiday season. The stressors of the holiday season such as increased traffic, short tempers, the feeling of lack of time, will not go away. However, the way you choose to perceive and deal with the stress can determine a miserable or happy outcome. Pick which outcome you want (hopefully it is the latter one), breathe in your life, and be merry.