Kathy Whelan

Posted on December 11, 2018

The holiday season is in full swing, and it can be overwhelming. We may feel pulled in too many directions. Family and friends, business colleagues, customers and clients all require our time. The to-do list gets longer as the winter days get shorter. In trying to keep up, we may sacrifice exercise, healthy eating or sleep. What is supposed to be a joyous season often feels like anything but.

How can we get through the holidays with a greater sense of ease and enjoyment?

I suggest including ourselves among the people who need our attention this month. Showing ourselves more kindness on a regular basis will help bring a sense of balance. Our heads will feel clearer, allowing us to focus better. In this more centered state, we can be more efficient and feel happier as we go about our holiday tasks.

Try one or more of these simple practices to see what works:

Linger in the shower. Slow down a little to enjoy the feel of warm water on your skin and the pleasant smell of your soap or body wash.

Take a few minutes to meditate. If you already practice meditation, make your usual session shorter rather than skip it. If you’re new to meditation, an app is an easy way to start. The one I most often use offers guided meditations as short as five minutes.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Make sure to start your day with some protein for energy and some healthy fat to keep you feeling full.

Take a quick walk. No time for your regular gym workout? A brisk 15-minute outdoor walk is a good pick-me-up.

Hydrate. It’s hard to overstate the importance of drinking enough water.

Skip the gifts. Consider exchanging something with friends that doesn’t require shopping. A simple, written expression of gratitude for your friendship can mean more than a gift your friend neither needs nor wants.

Listen to your body. Enjoy your dinners out but notice when your body tells you it’s had enough.

Stop and smell the roses. Literally. Pop into a flower shop as you pass by or dip into an art gallery as a reminder that there is beauty as well as busyness in the world.

Give yourself a pat on the back. Do what you can but set a cut-off time for thinking about your to-do list. Say, “I’ve done enough.” Say it again if you don’t believe it the first time.

Unplug before bed. Avoiding screen time for an hour or so before bed can help you fall asleep more easily and feel sharper in the morning.

What else can you think of? Whatever you do, consider it a support, a buffer against stress, rather than another to-do. Even one of these simple acts can have a big impact.

Feel selfish doing something for yourself this time of year? Don’t. You’ll be a nicer, more patient person if you’ve engaged in some self-care. That’s one of the best gifts you can give the other people in your life.

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