How is December treating you so far? I hope each and every one of you are doing well and staying grounded. It can be so hard to stay grounded and not get carried away with everything that needs to be done this time of year – especially when there are important birthdays to keep track of as well as the holiday stuffs.
If you aren’t feeling so grounded and more like your head is going to explode from everything you have to remember and get done I’m here with some tips for you today. These are things that work especially well for me, even during times of high stress and to-do lists that rival Santa’s. I hope you’ll give them a shot and see if they work for you too.
1 – Write It Down
Write what down? Everything! Well, mostly everything. Grocery lists, gift lists, card lists, what-you-bought/ordered lists, what to cook, what to clean, etc. And I don’t mean “write” it down on your phone or tablet. I mean write it down. On a piece of paper. With a pen. You’ll be amazed at how much better this is when it comes to stress relief and getting things out of your head so you can think clearly. Writing things down on paper also forces you to put down the techno-gadget and takes away the many distractions of social media, emails, etc. – even if it is only for a short time. Writing with pen and paper also engages the brain differently than typing notes on a laptop, tablet, or phone. Check out this article if you’d like to read more about it.
2 – Limit Social Media
Sometimes Pinterest, Instagram, and other sites can be great for inspiration for gifts, parties, and getting that
damn Elf somewhere besides the tree or stocking, but sometimes it can also turn into a judge-fest. Namely self-judgement. If we are looking through Pinterest and allowing ourselves to feel bad because we have neither the time nor money to put together handmade holiday gifts, throw a killer birthday party or holiday party, then we need to step away. It is OK to buy gifts. It is OK to tell your kid you need a break and “no I can’t make that snowglobe with you right now”. It is OK if your house doesn’t look like the North Pole and your Elf isn’t leaving treats everywhere every night. It’s O.K. And it’s more than ok to put down the phone, close the laptop, and go take a bath or read a book.
3 – Plan for Next Year
“WHAT?! HOW IS THIS LESSENING MY STRESS?!” Hear me out. I just started this practice, but I wish I had started years ago. Grab a journal or notebook you know you will have around in 10-11 months leave space for 2 lists. The first list is “What is stressing me out about the holidays”. Don’t hold back! Write as much as you need to and try to include everything. Once you’re done (you may want to leave space to add other things if they come up as time passes), look over the list, put the pen down, close your eyes, and take 5-10 deep breaths.
The second list is, “What can I do differently to make the holidays less stressful?”. It’s ok to write things like “no more gifts!!!!” or “no more hosting Christmas dinner”. No one will see this but you, so if you find this turns into more of a journal/venting session, that’s ok. When you are done, just look things over to see what can be feasibly changed and where you just needed to get some stuff off your chest. AND with this technique you may find next year that things that bugged the sh*t out of you this time around no longer bother you because you’ve taken the time to acknowledge stuff that no longer works for you and let it go.
4 – Exercise
I can almost hear the internal groaning from here. I know, I know. The last thing we want to do after working, listening to our kids talk about Santa/elves/presents/stockings/cards/candy/gifts, or battling crowds at the store is to exercise. I totally get it, BUT exercise is really good for us. It gets blood and toxins moving, it boosts our moods, burns calories, etc. etc. And not only that, if you have a regular exercise routine or yoga practice, don’t let it fall by the wayside during the holidays! This is when we lean on our practice the most and it can acutally be the most beneficial.
If you don’t exercise normally or have a regular yoga practice, it’s still important to get the blood flowing and get the body moving. A leisurely or brisk walk is sometimes all it takes to help us press the reset button.
5 – Sleep
This too, is often mentioned when battling stress, fatigue, or even depression, and that’s because it is so important. “Sleep is the highest form of meditation”. I read that once years ago and I have no idea who said it, but I couldn’t agree more. No amount of meditation, yoga, or breathwork is going to do a thing for me if I’m not getting enough sleep. Everyone’s sleep needs vary, so I encourage you to be really honest with yourself about how much you need to actually enjoy life. Not just enough sleep to get by, but how much sleep do you need each night to wake up naturally and be a nice person. It may very well be more this time of year with less sunshine and increased stress, so keep that in mind if you’re getting 8 hours and still feel
like you want to punch someone in the face grouchy.
I actually have a few more tricks up my sleeve, but I want you to actually try some of these out instead of continuing to just read about them. 🙂 Shoot me a comment or email if you have any questions, and I’d love to know how these work out for you. Blessings for a stress-free week.