This week is the official kickoff of the holiday season and that can lead to quite the load of stress. After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of shopping (either at stores or online - which is best?) to find just the right gifts for your loved ones. All of this, on top of your normal every day life. It can be overwhelming to say the least.
I wanted to share with you some of my personal favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.
These secret weapons of mine include…
Put forth great effort to be present. It can be difficult, I understand. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same? One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room. Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones. When I’m feeling particularly scattered, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses. What do I smell? What do I hear? What do I feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. If you have gone through the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation with me, you already know how to do this. If you haven’t and are curious, contact me and I will send you a “how -to” .It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!
Give up those expectations. A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect. That’d be lovely, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. Remember in the Christmas Story movie, the Bumpus hounds tore into the turkey? The memory of a holiday dinner at the Bo’ling Chop Suey Palace will be with the Parkers always! There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can. Tis the season!
Find time to move. It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.
What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months? I am leading an Everwalk on Saturday, December 7, at Crystal Lake Park with a healthy lunch afterwards in Bordentown. Maybe I will see you there?