The holiday season is full of anticipation, expectation and excitement all at the same time. These three things are not bad when expressed from a grounded, wholesome being. It is when we have these emotions mixed with an already unbalanced lifestyle that they lead to stress. Here are 5 ways to help you relax, reflect and refresh this holiday season:
- Meditate. Meditation is proven to reduce stress by helping you quiet your mind. The goal is not to get your thoughts to stop. It is to become unattached to your thoughts. Don’t say you are not good at it because there is no such thing as being good or bad at meditating. You just need to accept that whatever happens during meditation, it is okay. If you just can’t seem to turn your mind off the whole time you are meditating, that is okay. At least you got some time to be alone in contemplation, peace and quiet. Some of my favorite meditation guides are Insight Timer and Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey 21-Day Meditations
- Move. Walk, run, practice yoga, go to the gym…it doesn’t matter what- just do it! Commit yourself to a goal that is attainable. For example, I commit to move for 1 hour, 5 days a week. When you make it a more broad goal of movement I find that there is less chance for disappointment in ourselves if we didn’t make it to x, x times that week. You may find that you enjoy it more too as you can follow your heart to what kind of movement you feel like doing that day.
- Rest. If you are one that is on the go all the time, start with the simplest form of rest which is physical. This could be as simple as lying on the couch without your phone a few times a week. It could also mean going to bed 30 minutes earlier. It’s amazing how much better we feel and function as human beings with adequate sleep. Then work your way into resting in the knowing that we are not in control. When we take the pressure off ourselves to make everything perfect, it brings so much peace. Perfection is never going to bring you joy. Running yourself ragged is never going to make you feel complete. Try resting in the promises God has bestowed on your life, knowing that no matter what happens, it is His plan.
- Connect. Spend quality time with those who matter most. This probably seems like a given around the holidays because we spend so much time with others. But, the most important part is the quality of the time we spend with our friends and family. If we are all hyped up with our “to-do” list and running to the next stop, we can’t enjoy the full fruit of that present moment. Practice saying “no” this holiday season. Commit to one extracurricular activity/connection per day, even on the weekends. Make that one activity/connection meaningful and let it fill you up as much as you fill the other person up.
- Practice Gratitude. The reason it is a practice is because our awareness of our grateful heart is always changing. Some days I wake up feeling so grateful and that life is abundant. Other days I’m dragged down and it’s almost impossible to look at the positive. No matter what the day, there is always something to be grateful for. Overcooked the turkey? Practice being grateful you have food to eat and that there are still delicious side dishes to enjoy! I know, it may feel stupid sometimes. I promise that if you look at the world view of whatever situation you are trying to make yourself grateful for, you will be humbled immediately.