Self-Imposed Holiday Stress or Expressions of Love and Care?

Star shape for holiday post about love and care

Our World Needs More Love and Care. Will you do your part?

How do you express your Love and Care for the people in your life, the people who love and care for you – your partner, family members, close friends, spiritual community?

How do you express your Love and Care for who and what you most care about – people who are hungry, families without homes, those suffering in war and violence, those caring for the sick and elderly, places and groups that care for the earth, for spiritual needs, for the artistic spirit?

I’m asking these questions because I’ve been hearing a lot about holiday stress. It seems to be about our longing to receive and express Love and Care. I think the stress part comes for a variety of reasons all based in fear. There is fear that if we don’t do what is expected we won’t be loved for who we are; fear that whatever we give won’t be right and we’ll lose some love or esteem; fear that our expressions of love and care won’t be accepted, fear that all the energy we spend with gift buying, attending our social functions and family gatherings will exhaust us and not have much return or on the other side, fear that not having holiday activities means that we’re not worthy or good enough. This all comes down to our need to express and receive Love and Care.

I suggest we take care of ourselves and end our self-imposed stress with a shift and some simple actions.

The shift is out of fear and into recognizing that we all need to give and receive Love and Care. From here we can make our intention for giving and receiving Love and Care clear. Then we can ask ourselves:

What are the best ways for me to have my life be about Love and Care this time of year?

Then breathe with awareness, move to loosen up the tight places in your body and maybe do some singing. (I’m not kidding here. Singing is known to get our creative juices flowing!)

  • Decide each day what actions to take to express Love and Care for yourself and others.
  • Decide to infuse anything you do with Love and Care.
  • Make your days about Love and Care and notice what happens around you.

About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.