Stress-Free Holidays

The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to 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 braving the shopping mall crowds to find the 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 want to share some of my favorite ways to navigate this busy time of year and make this season a time you will remember with fond memories.

Be present.  It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment. 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 loved ones. When feeling particularly stressed focus on your senses. What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment. It’s a wonderful toolto use to dial in and be resent – 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. 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 to clear your mind. 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.