You know all the usual tips for reducing stress: don’t overdo sugar, exercise regularly, carve out solo time, don’t overbook yourself or your family. They’re easy to talk about, but much harder to put into practice sometimes.
Even if you’re following the well-known guidelines for surviving the holidays, craziness and overwhelm can still hit hard. So here are a few more tips, ones you might not have considered, that can help get you through this jolliest — and sometimes most difficult of all — seasons.
1. Ease into your day.
When you start your day by jumping out of bed at the last minute, rushing through a shower and breakfast (or skipping breakfast completely — but you know better than that!), you’re setting yourself up for a day of mania and distress. Often, the foundation we lay right when we wake up sets the tone, mood, and confidence level for the following waking hours.
If you’re not already the first one to wake, set your alarm so you are. When it’s time to get up, spend a few minutes in bed before jumping up. Breathe deeply, begin to attune yourself to the sounds around you. Take your time as you get up, gently stretching. Enjoy a warm drink while doing nothing else, just watching the steam rise and feeling your body settle into wakefulness. Do some simple stretches, or maybe a few squats or lunges. By the time everyone else has risen, you’ll be awake in a calm and clearheaded way.
2. Put your feet in the air.
Sure, putting your feet on the desk at work helps, too. But at the end of a day, especially if you’ve been traveling, working on your feet, or standing in lines, it’s important to reverse the flow of gravity.
Practice Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani) for just 5 minutes, and you’ll be rested, rejuvenated, and ready for bed or perhaps another round of socializing.
Get the full How-To here. All you need is a yoga mat or blanket and a bare wall or door!
3. Be the one to smile first.
For some, this might sound unfair. Those who give, give, and over-give during the holidays might be more familiar with the feeling of resentment after “always being the one to smile first!” But there’s a good reason to do so. It’s because you know you can.
The holidays can be extremely hard, depressing, isolating, and worse for many people. Other people don’t always have the energy or wakefulness to share a smile first. You, however, are awake and calm. You have followed this blog and read my books and taken to heart the tips presented here, and therefore, you have it in you to be the one to smile first. It doesn’t have to be a toothy grin, a maniacal Hollywood gleam, or anything other than eye contact with a lift of the corners of your mouth. I guarantee, being the one to smile first will reward you with heartfelt smiles in return, over and over again. You just might save someone’s day.
4. Don’t watch or read the news.
For some, this might include not going on Facebook or Twitter, either. It’s important to stay informed. So use this as an opportunity to get social. Put down your phone and actually talk to another human being. Ask them what the big news of the day is. It could lead to some enlightening conversation and perhaps the start of a new friendship.
5. Use long lines as an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
You’ve heard this one before, but you might have forgotten it. When you’re in a super-long line, don’t just reach for your phone. Don’t grab a magazine off the rack and read the whole thing while you’re standing there. Use the time to come back to your breath. Notice it entering and exiting your body. Feel your feet on the ground and your body in space. Become aware of all of the sounds around you. Become aware of your body’s messages: hunger, energy, emotions. Come back to your breath. Be the one to smile first. Stay present. And enjoy your holidays!
Like this post? Consider buying my book, A Year of Natural Health and Beauty: 52 Easy, Frugal, Natural Ideas to Enhance Your Mind, Body, and Spirit. You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places. Click here to learn more or to purchase!