The happiest season of all...?
It's the holiday season! The "happiest season of all! "The most wonderful time of the year!"
*Queue all holiday songs*
Well, is it really the most wonderful time of the year?? For most of us, this season can bring both joy AND a whole lotta stress. Perhaps it’s the heavier workloads, large family gatherings, traveling, gifts to buy…the lights are nice though, right?!
If you are stressed, you are not alone. Practicing mindfulness is key for keeping the holidays more merry and less stressful.
Here are some tips for calming the mind and body
over the next month of holiday happenings.
Take moments each day dedicated to gratitude. Write or make mental notes of a few things you are grateful for. Grief and stress can EASILY take over our mind in an instant. Discontentment and stress are often fueled by something we feel we are lacking. By flipping the inner narrative's perspective to gratitude, we feel more peace. Bringing attention to what you do have (health, abilities, a thing you love about yourself) can drastically shift your mood to a feeling of more contentment. You can even do this while lying in bed for a minute before your snoozed alarm goes off!
Another easy way to recenter the mind is to focus on the breath for a moment. Are you feeling rushed? Are you taking short breaths, or deep, belly breaths? Taking long, diaphragmatic breaths can lower stress levels. Our mind is often piling on more tasks, guilt of things we haven’t yet accomplished, people to take care of, etc. Taking a moment to focus solely on our breath and nothing else for a full minute can help calm our entire being.
Lastly, this time of year can feel like SOO many things are happening. With more social events and family gatherings taking place over the holidays, it can feel harder and harder to catch up on mental and physical health. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the holidays is balancing all these gatherings, work, home life, and health. One of the nasty sides of holidays is the feeling of being obligated to attend something. If there are too many events on your plate, and you don’t want or need to attend one of them, what’s the worst that could happen if you don’t? Take a moment to evaluate which events you feel GOOD about going to and which ones you don’t. It should be your choice! It’s for your mental and physical health after all. :)
The biggest take away, slowww downnnn. I write a lot of these tips as reminders for myself. They help me release tension in my mind and thus, in my shoulders, low back, feet…you get the idea! I hope they help you too.
To make these action steps all the more effective, try pairing them with your favorite stress-relieving essential oils from the list below!
It truly just takes a minute to practice retraining negative or busy mental chatter. Of course, it helps to stop and evaluate your thoughts as often as possible, especially as soon as you start noticing your mind slipping into stress mode. Start with a minute and see how good you feel! As Anthony De Mello puts it so simply “Awareness Awareness Awareness.” YOU are the only person who can truly calm your mind down. It’s our mind and subconscious thoughts that we need to become more aware of. The more aware we are of the stress we often cause in our own mind, the easier it is to let the thoughts we don’t want pass through and take less control of us.
Over the next month (and months to come) I hope you have more and more peace of mind, moments of stillness, and an ever-growing list of things to be thankful for.
Wishing you quality rest, rejuvenation, and cozy holidays,