’Tis the season for so many things: Holidays, traveling, visiting, eating, cooking, shopping, sharing, giving, receiving…on and on it goes. It’s the busiest time of year for most people when they try to cram in a years worth of catching up with family into just a couple of weeks. It’s this time of year that is unfortunately the most stressful for people, and when the days seem shorter it really feels like we just don’t have enough time to DO everything.
Without fail, most people I see during this season almost always sacrifice their self care practices in order to cram in other obligatory things. Their yoga or work out time is eliminated, their evening reading gets put on hold, their lunch breaks are taken up with end of the year appointments or their family dinners are postponed to stay at the office later, finishing old projects. After a couple of weeks of this non-stop work (along with inevitable hosting of friends and families), we feel completely wiped out and have nothing left to to give. Before you get yourself into this non-stop commotion of the holiday season, try a few of these tips:
Always schedule 20 minutes into your day just for you. It doesn’t matter if you plan to do something with this 20 minutes or not – the point is you’re not giving it to anyone else. This can be for reading, going on a walk, having a coffee or tea break or just taking a nap.
Always keep your yoga or physical practice going, even if it’s only a couple of days a week (and if you need to schedule this in your calendars too – do it!). Self care practices are the first to go when we get busy, it’s really easy to drop off the yoga mat, so to speak. If it’s a morning 10 minutes of sun salutations or an evening asana, make sure to take this time to repair and rejuvenate.
Allow space for gratitude. Never be dismissive of all the good things going for you and everything you have to be grateful for. Feeling frustrated at that red light holding you up? Geez, how lucky you are to actually have a car. Allow space and time to be grateful for every meal you eat and every friend you “have” to visit (or that wants to visit you!) this season. It’s finding the silver linings, the little joys of grateful remembrance that keeps us more positive.
I work a lot with folks who have busy lifestyles and a lot to juggle with families, jobs, health issues and traveling. There is always a way to find balance even when the days seem overwhelming, and the best place to start is with just a few minutes to catch your breath, think of something positive, and make just a little time for you. I find that the act/ritual of cooking is a really nice “me time” that also happens to be a chore for someone else in a different mindset. I’m getting something done that has to be done, and I find the pleasure in it and the time that it takes. The same could be said for responding to all of the emails or holiday cards that takes time to write, but entering into the time by allowing more positive emotions to take over can really change up your day. Suddenly, you’ve made more time for being positive even if you didn’t change your actual activity, and positivity can fill up your whole being, right down to every cell.
So try in these next few weeks to allow time for positive thoughts and being grateful for the little (and big!) things in your life. Take just a few moments each day to quiet down and settle into the rhythm of the busy season. Before you know it, you’ve just created more time to be joyful, and who doesn’t want that?
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com