Holiday preparations, socializing and trying to keep up with the demands of your job and family can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out at this time of year. While the holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends, it’s also important to take care of yourself. Here are some ideas on taking good care of yourself and feeling more at ease so you can make the most of this special time of year and be your true self.
Create time alone: schedule time to take a walk in nature, curl up with a book or movie, or spend time on your favourite hobby. Set boundaries, say no, and don’t overbook yourself. If there are schedule conflicts, pick the activities you will enjoy the most, including just doing nothing.
Pamper yourself: enjoy the season without abusing your body. Over indulging in food or alcohol won’t make you feel good about yourself or your body. Treat your body with love and respect and pamper it in small ways like having a massage, eating fresh foods, taking a bath, or getting outdoors for some fresh air. If you’re not already active, getting active could be your gift to yourself for this holiday season.
Practice calming breathing: One of the best ways to bring yourself back down to earth is to take long slow deep belly breaths. If you place your hand on your belly as you breathe, notice how the hand and the belly extend out with the inhale and release with the exhale. This form of breathing encourages the nervous system to become calm and quiet, moving the body and mind into a more restful state of being.
Focus your mind. When the world sends you spinning try focusing your mind in a constructive and engaging way. Find a place where you can sit quietly and focus your attention on something in the environment around you: it could be the sounds in the room, the sensations in your body or the feeling or your breathing or heartbeat. If you need a little help focusing your mind, go to this link for a free 5 minute guided meditation: https://lyndapedley.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/iRest-5-minute-meditation.wav
Minimize external stimulation. Take a mini-vacation from electronic devices. For an hour a day, turn off the phone, computer, television and radio, and dim the lights – turn down the volume of your life. Outer calm creates inner calm.
Substitute positive thoughts for negative ones. When you are disturbed by negative thoughts, you can recover your balance by inviting peaceful thoughts into your minds. The next time you find yourself with a negative thought, bring to mind the opposite of this thought to develop a more positive outlook on the world.
Give the gift of Gratitude. Acknowledging the things for which you are grateful, big and small, opens your heart and changes your mood. On waking, before you even get out of bed, pause and acknowledge three things or people for which you are grateful. It could be a beautiful sunset or a simple gesture of kindness from a stranger. Notice how this feels emotionally and in your body. Anytime during the day when you want to take a momentary time out, recall these three things and how you felt. Let this feeling be your constant companion throughout your day. You may even like to share your gratitude with others by thanking them for being in your life.
Remember that it’s not your responsibility to ensure that everyone is having a good time during the holidays. If you are able to peacefully enjoy the pleasures of the season, your joy just might become contagious.