As fun-filled as the holidays can be, they can also be stressful. I find the holidays to be like tinsel on the tree: beautiful and joyous, yet with the potential to get a bit tangled. Surrounded by many family members and friends with intense personalities, I am learning how to find the balance, using inspiration from my experience as a dance/movement therapist!

Here are my ten favorite ways to navigate the holiday season:

1. Get outside. Take a long walk upon the earth and find peace under the trees. There is a naturally calming energy found in the woods, beside streams, and under the sun. Moving in nature may help you become grounded.



2. Dance up a sweat – your way! Take a dance (or yoga) class or go dancing with friends and let your hair down. No need to wear heels! As dance/movement therapists know – we can really cut a rug in whatever our feet feel comfortable in! I believe dancing for fun is one the best ways we can give to ourselves.

By Zach Dischner
By Zach Dischner

3. Try meditating daily. We may have “time off” for the holidays but it oftentimes becomes busy with travel and multiple family gatherings. Creating time to connect with your spiritual self or to disconnect from the hustle and bustle is wonderfully calming.

Young asian man meditating


4. Create. Paint. Laugh. Play games. Take a moment to sit at the kids table — They have the silliest jokes!


5. Breathe deeply. (Especially when Grandma asks those disarming questions!)

Photo by Ruurmo
Photo by Ruurmo


6. Release those high expectations. Gifts come in so many forms. The pressure we receive from the commercialization of the holidays need not be received. Handmade gifts and quality time making memories with family are what really matter to us, right?


Photo to Erica G
Photo to Erica G


7. Be patient. Practicing compassion within the group dynamic of family is oftentimes the most challenging feat.


8. Listen to your body. If your tummy wants that yummy cake, eat it up. If you sense something is “off,” listen to your own cues and give yourself what you need. Balance is key.


9. Feeling overwhelmed? Take some space when you need it. Every few hours, I step out into the fresh air or retreat to a quiet room to ground myself after a lot of stimulation.


Photo by National Park Service
Photo by National Park Service

10. Let us be present and count our blessings. Being fully in the “now” helps us worry less and recognize the beauty in all that surrounds us and is within us.

For Alternate Route Students

In the spirit of generosity and giving . . .  here is a bonus!!

11. Give the beauty of time well spent. Volunteering at a local charity or community center with family reminds us how fortunate we are as people on earth.

Let us remember to fulfill the spirit of giving to others by taking some time to give to ourselves. Happy Holidays to all – I hope you dance!
















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