With the holidays around the corner, this time of year often mean extra stress for many people as the holidays tend to amplify the drama by 100 times. That could be family gatherings, travel, hosting friends and family, eating well and not overindulging, and little time to ourselves with all the commitments. So how do we ensure we are able to simply enjoy the time and just be?
Remaining present, or mindful, is a crucial skill to have when we’re confronted with the drama and the crazy making of the holiday season. These are skills that can be learned and support your stress relief.
Here are a few tips to help you approach this season with presence and more calm:
- Just Breathe! Yes, it’s almost cliche at this point yet so important. It really works! When we get stressed we really do hold our breath like a 2 year old. When you find yourself in the frantic place – simply taking a big, belly expanding deep breath can bring calm back to your life. Taking a breath in for four counts, holding, then releasing for four counts is also a quick easy way to become more present. Another tip is to just notice your breath: how is sounds, how it feels moving in and out of your body.
- Feel It! We tend to suppress our emotions so we don’t feel those sensations in our bodies; which only makes it worse. Feel the sensations – all of them. Then let them go – like you dumped a bucket of water over your head. Yeah – it’s startling and may be cold – but it’s over quickly. And so are the emotions, physiologically
speaking, they’re done and gone in 90 seconds. We choose to wallow in them longer.
- Watch the Parade: Observe your thoughts or the conversations around you as if you’re watching floats in a parade go by. You don’t run out and jump on the float do you? (Well maybe someone does) Pretend your crazy making thoughts or the conversations with family or friends are just floats in a parade going by – observe and do not engage. Stay off the floats!
- Self Care: Take some time – even 5 minutes – for some self care. Just sit still (even if it’s in the bathroom) without the phone/tablet, kids, family – just BE. Take a bath. Take a walk. Pet an animal. Dance. Get a massage. Draw or color in a real coloring book (even if it’s for three year olds!). Stretch for 5 minutes. Feel the soles of your feet on the ground. Feel the palms of your hands. Any step, even an inch, will help keep you present and grounded.
- *#(&@$* Happens! Yes, it does despite our best efforts. Always know it’s about noticing the feeling/emotion, acknowledging it, feeling it and simply moving on. Even if you’ve blown a gasket, yelled at the kids/in-laws/significant other, burned the bird, fill in the ________. When you do remember to breathe or take time – just do it without judging yourself. Just be present in that moment when you recognize the opportunity.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on other ways to remain present you may use. Share them below in the comments.