During the holidays, it can be all too easy to get swept up in the rush of things and forget that you're supposed to be taking a break from everyday life.
Another reason it's important to take time every day—even if only for a few minutes—is for your own wellness.
Here are some tips you can use to induce calm and relaxation during this super-hectic time of year ...
1. Slow Down
- Slow your breathing down and focus on inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
- Take a walk outside in nature or soak in some sun rays.
- Find someone who makes you smile and give them a hug.
- Treat yourself to something nice.
2. Make time for social connections
- Take time to reconnect with friends and family you enjoy being around.
- Be a tourist in your own town.
- Attend your company, church or community holiday functions.
- Planning can help you be more present and enjoy yourself more.
- Make to-do lists and create a budget.
- If possible, book your travel in advance.
- Set aside money for gifts months in advance.
4. Find your creative outlet
- To help you find some peace of mind—and take a break from all that shopping—consider finding an outlet for your creativity this season.
- Whether you’re into painting or photography, calligraphy or origami, there are plenty of ways to express yourself.
- If words aren’t your thing, try playing music or singing along to old holiday tunes.
- Make something from scratch—a warm scarf or cozy blanket will surely come in handy once those cold winter nights start rolling around!
5. Be honest about what you can do, and don't overextend yourself
- If life is busy enough as it is, the last thing you need is to add more things onto your plate.
- Prioritize which tasks really need attention during this hectic time of year—and then make sure they get done!
- Don't try to do everything at once. It's easy for us all to feel like we're supposed to be accomplishing something every hour of every day (even though most likely we're not).
- Instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, break down projects into step-by-step processes so that each piece won't feel overwhelming or intimidating anymore—and then tackle them one at a time until everything is finished!
- Don't feel guilty about saying no when someone asks for help or favors—or telling people when their behavior isn't appropriate (e.g., "that joke wasn't funny" or "don't ask me again"). You deserve respect just as much as anyone else does; if someone doesn’t give it freely or consistently then perhaps, they aren’t someone you’d want to spend time with.
6. Create a self-care plan to help you feel better if you're feeling overwhelmed
- A realistic and achievable plan for yourself can help reduce the chance of feeling overwhelmed.
- Make a list of things that make you feel good and want to help people.
- Create something by hand (art journaling, knitting, or crocheting)
- Go out with friends on a regular basis (and make sure they are non-judgmental).
- Take time off from social media
7. Skip the big or complicated holiday meal
- You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a fun holiday party.
- Consider skipping the big or complicated meal and host a fondue party instead.
- Host a potluck or fondue party is an affordable way to make everyone feel special during the busy holiday season. You'll want your guests to bring something different—a side dish or dessert—to keep things interesting throughout the night. If you're not sure what people might like best, ask them ahead of time!
- Make sure there's enough space on your table for all those pots! It's also important that they're well-lit so no one accidentally burns themselves while stirring their food with their forks!
8. Try practicing mindfulness meditation this season
- Meditation has become an increasingly popular form of self-care for many people, and it's easy to see why.
- The practice can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, and there are many different types that can suit any lifestyle or ability level.
- The most common type is mindfulness meditation, in which you simply focus on your breathing and bring awareness to the present moment.
- Many people use guided meditations to get started with this style of meditation because they're easy to follow along with and often have soothing music playing in the background (or even nature sounds).
- Meditation has been shown to lead to greater feelings of calmness, happiness, and positivity—as well as reduced stress levels—so if you're feeling overwhelmed by holiday festivities this year, consider giving it a try!
9. If you have an empty chair at your table, remember what they'd want to see on that plate of food in front of it
- Reflect on those friends or family members who are no longer with you.
- What would they want to hear from you? What would they want you to say about them?
- If there's something funny or touching or silly that happened with this person in the past, tell it.
- If it's sad and there's no way around it, then focus on how beautiful their life was while you had them here with you.
Inevitably things can go wrong during the holidays but remember — it's just a bump in the road and sometimes even bumps can be good for us.
If you're feeling like this is all too much, it's okay. You’re not alone! These are the holidays and things can get hectic.
It's inevitable that something can go wrong, and your family might not be as perfect as you want them to be. But remember it's just a bump in the road and sometimes even bumps can be good for us!
The holidays are a time of rest and celebration; they are not meant to be stressful.
If you've been feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, please try some of these tips for enjoying the holiday season (or any other time) and incorporate Pure Zen into your routine.