Here we are: it’s Christmas time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is equally excited and stressed about the holiday season. I worry about getting ahead on my work before the holiday, my students’ many holiday performances, documentation that is due, scheduling family gatherings, and then there are the gifts!
It is not hard for me to find reasons to feel overwhelmed about the holidays and lose sight of the joy & cheer all around me.
This year I refuse to let stress and circumstantial issues dictate whether or not I will enjoy this season! So, in true holiday form I came up with a self-care advent calendar! These are just a few things we can all do to get into the holiday spirit!
- Turn on your favorite music & stretch. Let’s start off nice and easy, shall we? Take a moment at some point in your day to turn on music you enjoy. Then start stretching along with some deep breathing to release any tension you may be carrying.
- Gift yourself with some sacred time. I believe that there is something truly powerful in the word “sacred”. It is how I describe the things I value most highly and I treat them with the utmost respect. Even five or ten minutes of sacred time to do whatever you please can be a day changer! Take some time to read, have a glass of coffee or tea and enjoy your space. This time is yours!
- Deep breathing. I’m sure you have heard someone suggest that you “take a deep breath!”, especially if you were upset at the time. But deep breathing is extremely effective! Take five deep breaths (moving your abdominals outward when you inhale) from the diaphragm and hold for just a moment before slowly releasing your air in a steady stream. This can slow your heart rate and bring much needed oxygen to your brain for a clear mind!
- Offer help. Something as small as holding a door for another, carrying someone’s bags, or showing kindness in general can contribute to our greater sense of purpose! Be generous of your time and efforts today!
- Ask for help. I know, this one is a bit more challenging. It can be difficult to ask for help and reach out for support, but in doing this you are inviting people into your life and creating support for yourself in the process.
- Try meditation. That is, try it if you haven’t already. I started meditation a few months ago and it has made a dramatic difference in my life. I feel more grounded and focused throughout my day, and if I meditate right before bed time, it helps me sleep better too! There are some amazing apps to get you started. I use Simple Habit as my go-to app.
- Write a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a list of things you are grateful for today. I encourage you to challenge yourself! I usually aim for one hand written page of gratitude. This practice brings the positive into focus and the negative out of frame. When I find I am stuck in a negative mindset I reach for my gratitude journal to set me back on track.
- Spend quality time with someone you love. This is one of my favorites! Feed your soul and spend some time with a friend, family member, or spouse. Give yourself permission to set aside your responsibilities for some quality time.
- Go for a walk outside. It may be cold, but fresh air is good for your physical body and your mind. You and I will be spending a lot of time inside over the winter season, so take a moment to smell the fresh air, hear the wind rustling, and enjoy the beautiful world around you.
- Treat yourself. It’s the last work day before Christmas for most of us. Instead of focusing on the end of the day. Pick up a coffee, tea, or treat just for you before your day even starts. Everyone else may be watching their clocks, but you can enjoy some holiday spirit all day long.
- Sit down with a book and read… for fun. No articles for work, books for a project, or emails are allowed! Pick up something you might enjoy and sit down with a warm cozy blanket. You deserve this time to rest and enjoy the holiday season.
- Say thank you. It’s Christmas Eve and you might be spending time with your family. Take a moment to tell someone “thank you”. You have been giving to yourself so generously for the last twelve days, and now you have joy in your heart to give to the people you love. This is why we self-care, so that we can be our best selves every day of every season.
Join me beginning on December 13th to begin our advent calendar through Christmas Eve.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & a joyful New Year!