(Photo above by Maria Orlova / Pexels)
The holidays gift us joy—and stress. A 2015 Healthline study reported that at least 44% of Americans feel significantly stressed during the holidays. The reasons are many: not being able to see our family, seeing too much of our family; dealing the guilt of overspending. Over half the study’s participants shared that finances were the main cause of their stress.
John Hopkin’s Medical Center lists several other reasons for holiday stress:
- Overscheduling and overindulging
- Having multiple caregiving roles
- Work demands
- Expectations of what you should do
- Too much time with family or not enough
How do we wisely sidestep the stress traps that lurk in the holiday season? When we tap into our Buddhability, we find the wisdom to turn any holiday situation into a deeply satisfying and joyful experience. Here are three tips on how to enjoy the holidays.
When we tap into our Buddhability, we find the wisdom to turn any holiday situation into a deeply satisfying and joyful experience.
1. Set Goals for Your Holidays
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to write a novel over your break. It’s more about deciding what you’d like to see happen during your holidays. Some goals can include: truly enjoying time with loved ones, refreshing ourselves, connecting with old friends, watching a good movie each day or exercising.
When we don’t have a goal, it’s easy to feel aimless and get caught up in holiday routines of overindulging or packing too many activities into your schedule. As John Hopkins Medicine Center notes, “It’s hard to have a meaningful holiday if you don’t determine ahead of time what will give it meaning.”
2. Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo each day
Even on the days when our only plan is to simply sit on the couch and stream our favorite show, chanting is a great idea. Why? Because chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a Buddhist tool that enables us to bring our best, wisest, most compassionate self to the table, regardless of what activity we are doing. If our goal is to truly relax over the holidays, then chanting gives us the strength to live in the moment and the wisdom to know what will refresh us.
In other words, chanting is just as valuable in times when we need to refresh and relax as it is when we need to be highly productive.
If our goal is to truly relax over the holidays, then chanting gives us the strength to live in the moment and the wisdom to know what will refresh us.
3. Chanting brings out our compassion and tolerance.
A common holiday stressor is navigating relationships with family and friends. All too often others push our buttons, and we spend our time with them feeling resentful or angry. The good news is chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo also enables our big hearts to shine. It brings out the compassion and wisdom we need to make the most of our time with our loved ones.
Happiness is not something that just exists in isolation. It’s important to be broad-minded and open people whose presence puts others at ease. If we constantly judge or criticize others, that is a major sign of intolerance. Ikeda emphasizes the quality of tolerance contributing to our happiness, which doesn’t mean “anything goes,” but rather that people enjoy being around us because they feel respected.
If someone does something that truly bothers us, of course we can have an honest dialogue with them. We can also be broad-minded enough to see past their shortcomings and truly respect them. Instead of being distracted by petty matters, we have composure and can focus on creating amazing memories with them.
Instead of spending our holidays overwhelmed, tired and stressed out, we can chant each day to have the wisdom and compassion to have the time of our lives.