As we head into one of the busiest weeks of the year, in which we are trying to get all of the things done (shopping, wrapping, baking, school finals, end-of-year work, etc.), meet everyone’s expectations (as well as our own), keep traditions, and do our best to be mindful of, and celebrate, the true meaning of Christmas it can be extremely overwhelming and stressful–very stressful.
Stress is universal and it is also rather personal.
We all my be stressed out by the holidays but the particulars of the stress are likely unique. Shopping may stress us both out. For me, perhaps, it is the financial aspect. For you, maybe, the lack of ideas or deciding upon which gifts to get (let’s be honest–it’s both for me).
How we deal with stress, I find, is also, universal and, yet, when broken down, quite unique.
Universally . . . We all need down time.
Uniquely . . . What refreshes us may not be very similar.
Which makes me leery of sharing the following. May it be as detailed or vague as you need. Above, all may it be a gentle reminder, a welcome encouragement, to care for yourself as you care for others.
4 Ways to Stress Less this Season
01 / Listen
This is a hard one with all of the holiday noise. And, isn’t it just getting noisier and noisier? My ears hurt, and so do my eyes, actually–it seems we are hearing with our eyes these days (internet overload). Listen to what those around you are actually saying–not just what they want, what they need. The internet doesn’t know. Pay attention to your inner dialogue? Are you talking kindly to yourself? If not, change your tone to one that you have a with a friend, with your sister. It’s exhausting when you are hard on yourself. I’m really working to switch my inner dialogue. It starts up all mean girl on me everyday. And so, sometimes, out of no where, usually when I’m trying to fall asleep, I talk to myself in the voice of a loving mother, A gentle father. “Today was hard, but you did good. You might not have gotten everything done that you wanted to, but you did feed your children and get them to where they needed to go and that is most important.” I then listen for the voice of Love–my Heavenly Father. And this helps me to sleep.
02 / Move
Not from party to party or mall to mall. But move your body in a restorative way. A walk in nature. Yoga or Pilates (likely, for me). Spin Class or Body Pump (perhaps, for you). You get what I’m saying. Even stretching before bed can have a profound effect on a body that has been moving in a rigid, get it done, kind of way.
03 / Eat the cookie and drink the greens
This is not the month to go all out–one way or the other. At least, that never works for me. If you plan to eat just one Christmas cookie and then end up eating four because this is the only time of year you make Great Grandma’s Kolochki cookies, then so what?! Just don’t eat four cookies everyday. The next day your body will likely crave greens–go with that. Take a walk after you eat the pastry (that is what the Scandinavians do–or walk before).
04 / Do what you’d do on your day off
I get you might not have an entire day off, right now. Me, either. But, if you did, what would you do? Get together with friends? Go to the movies? Curl up on the couch with a book? Visit that cute neighboring town? Take a few hours (or even just one), where you can to read the book or watch the show–even on a super busy day–block it out in your planner if you must. I find that when I allow myself do one thing that feels like a Sunday afternoon, I end up working better and getting more done in a shorter amount of time.
Spend time with people. When I’m stressed I don’t like to spend time with people. There I said it. I hole up at home. Because, spending time with people, even ones I love, can feel like work, when I’m exhausted. Yes, I’m an introvert. YET….I’m finding that I always feel better when I spend time with people (make sure it is the right company. Not the energy vampires in your life). Remember, the holidays, truly, are about hope and people–not presents, nor perfectly cooked meals and Pinterest worthy parties.
These are a few things I’m focusing on this week.
What helps you to stress less during the holidays? I’d love to know.