Wonderful as the holiday season is, it can be a lot to juggle—throwing wellness for a loop—even in less atypical times than these. Though we can’t keep “real life” from working its way into our celebrations, we can control our reaction to the pressures that arise. Here are a few things to consider for staying mindful and merry through it all.
Get Honest About Expectations
Everyone has big ideas about what the holiday season is supposed to be, and we put tons of effort into trying to make everything perfect. This year especially, try to cut yourself some slack. Let go of what you feel like you should be doing and do what feels right, or what the situation allows. If you have a family, manage everyone’s expectations and incorporate what works best for your entire crew. Often, the fondest memories are made in the moments we don’t see coming or break with tradition entirely. (Really!)
Protect Your Time and Energy
Do festive celebrations leave you needing a holiday from your holiday? With so many demands on your attention, it’s easy to get caught up in the pace of things and not experience the peace that this time of year is intended to inspire. Own those moments when you want to reset and recharge. Whether it’s getting exercise—taking a walk or doing some yoga—disappearing for a nap or a bath, quiet reading or meditation, or calling a friend for laughs, finding ways to be “your best you” is the greatest gift you can give everyone else!
Keep Stress Levels at Bay
The holidays are such an emotional time, rooted in so much personal history. The stress we experience isn’t always simply because of what we have to do to celebrate the season, it’s also attached to more subtle things, like memories of bygone days or loved ones who are no longer with us. Things that trigger our stress—and why—are as different as each of us who experience them. What matters is how we are able to manage our stressors. As always, talking through things is always a good first place to start. Take opportunities to do it and keep those mind-clearing conversations going at all times of the year!
Move Your Body, Clear Your Mind
A good walk does wonders—we cannot say it enough! Not to worry that it’s cold outside, make braving the holiday weather part of your wellness challenge. (Within reason, of course!) And you don’t have to wander for hours either; a brisk 15-minute walk, feeling the fresh air on your face, can be so refreshing and rejuvenating! The more you move, the more you’ll want to move, and before you know it a new habit will be formed. Getting outside, practicing deep breathing, running, walking—whatever gets your blood moving—is excellent for putting all the techniques we’ve discussed above into action.
Evaluate the Joy in Your Traditions
Ever wonder why you do the same holiday things year after year? If you enjoy a tradition, by all means keep it going. If you don’t, there’s no shame in the game of getting new ones started. They may fizzle out or become things you look forward to for years, the important thing is you tried. Expanding on little things you already like to do—giving them a holiday twist—is one way of starting a new tradition. And don’t feel the need to mastermind it all yourself. Solicit the ideas from others and make them part of the planning. Remember, it’s usually not what you’re doing that matters, as much as the people you’re doing them with.
Spend Time Reflecting
It wouldn’t be the holiday season if there weren’t a lot of hustle and bustle, that’s all part of the fun! In equal measure though, quiet introspective time is also part of the deal. Use these precious moments to really take stock of things: how the past year has gone, your goals for the future, the person you wish to continue being—or become! And remember, THESE are the good old days! Document your holiday season in whatever ways feel best: journaling, taking pictures and videos, scrapbooking, or posting on social media—it all counts. One day they’ll be wonderful souvenirs that will mean the world to you; presents from the past of a life well lived.
However you celebrate, we wish you the happiest of holidays!