The holidays can be an exciting time of year. But let’s be honest, it can be a stressful time as well. This can show up as an influx of social opportunities, family togetherness, or even holiday travel. But to our bodies – stress is stress, regardless of the source. So all the more reason to increase the dosage of kindness, mindfulness, and self-care towards ourselves. Here are just a few mindful tips that I try to keep in mind for myself as the fa la la frenzy makes its presence known and to ensure I invite less OY and more JOY this holiday season. Afterall, if we can BE PRESENT, it is often the best gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones.
Tip #1: Be Kind To Yourself – Practice Self-Compassion
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but try to welcome some boundaries as a way to practice self-compassion. Feeling guilty or judging ourselves isn’t doing anyone any good. So allow yourself the occasional indulgence and be present to enjoy it. Here are some other ways you can cultivate compassion for yourself.
- Say no – People will understand if you can’t attend an event. If you say yes only to the things you want to do, you won’t feel as frustrated and overwhelmed.
- Remove should – Let your actions be a true expression of your holiday spirit and what you want to do, not simply an obligation to get through.
- Practice “simple” gratitude – I like to think of gratitude as a muscle we need to flex in simple ways so we can feel it more authentically in the more challenging moments of life. Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your day – it’s ok to keep it light and breezy. I like to think of one thing I am grateful for about a loved one, one thing about someone I may be experiencing a challenging time with, and one thing for myself.
Tip #2: Be Realistic – Stick to What Works
Contrary to my typical musing, I actually encourage people to not start anything new around this time of year. Stick to what works whether that is meditation, sleep, or exercise and focus on staying consistent with whatever that is. Sure, you can add a meditation booster, but let it be a bonus. No need to place undue pressure on yourself by adding something new to your wellness routine. Consistency is key, so choose one thing and try to stick with it.
- Get outside – Anytime we are outside, we are “naturally” in the present moment. Stomp your feet in the grass for extra grounding.
- Meditate – If you have a practice, stick with it. If not, explore some present moment practices below.
- Sleep – Sleep is the number one way our bodies release stress (meditation and exercise are second and third). This is the where our body gets the most rest and resiliency. Be extra kind to yourself and listen to your body when its craving sleepy time. Check out my 4 tips to set up for sleep success for specific tips. And as we like to say in my family when its all feeling too overwhelming, that is a time to “nap out of it.”
- Exercise – If you already have an exercise routine, stick with it as a great way to expel daily stress.
Tip#3: Be Aware – Nourish Your Body
It is natural to overindulge this time of year and you deserve to enjoy. But awareness and moderation is key. Connecting with your body will help you stay mindful of what your body is really craving which may be more about feeling connection, peaceful, and relaxed.
- Take a bath – Add some epsom salt and your favorite aromatherapy oil for an extra boost of relaxation.
- Eat nourishing foods – Try boosting your body with soups and juices in between holiday soirees.
- Fix a cup of tea – The simple act of preparing tea can be a nourishing practice. Take in the aromas and notice any physical sensations as you drink.
Tip #4: Be Present – Practice Present Moment Practices
These are simple practices that you can do anywhere and anytime you are needing a moment of peace.
- Close your eyes – Going within produces a sense of balance and relaxation.
- Feel your breath – Simply feel the rise and fall of your chest.
- Smile – Releases endorphins that reduce stress and help us feel better. Even faking a smile can produce the benefit.
- Set an intention – Shifts awareness from a stressful situation to a peaceful one (all is well, I am calm).
Tip #5: Stay Hydrated – Drink Lots of Water
Technically this can go under tip #3, but I’ve found hydration to be so key, that it deserves its own heading. Water keeps us hydrated, energized and can keep other things like headaches and stomach aches at bay.
- Mix it up – Add some fresh lemon, lime, cucumber to add some flavor.
- Morning glass – Try drinking a full glass of water first thing in the morning before your morning coffee or tea to help flush your system.
- Alternate with cocktails – Try drinking a full glass of water before meals (and in between cocktails). This can help keep portions in check.