My secret weapons for a stress-free holiday

Do the holidays kinda stress you out?   I used to be that way too. There are invitations to parties, cards to send, and gifts to buy, wrap and deliver.  All of this, in addition to every day life!  Sadly, life doesn’t take a back-seat to the holidays and at times it can just feel like it’s too much.

Luckily, we can make this time of the year more relaxing and enjoyable.  I’d like to share some things I’ve found to be effective in navigating this busy, stressful time of the year.

My secret weapons for a stress-free holiday include…

Focus on being present. I know it can be difficult. Almost on auto-pilot we grab our phones and scroll through Facebook and Twitter. Or compulsively check our email. Do you do it too?  So I’ve learned, when I want to be present with someone, to just put my phone away. I put it on vibrate, turn it upside down and put it out of sight.  Focusing on my senses is what helps me feel grounded when I begin feeling restless. What do I smell, hear and feel?  Thinking through what’s going on around me in that moment really brings me into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Drop perfection. Okay?  Seriously, let that shit go.  A lot of our stress comes from the pressure we put on ourselves for everything to be perfect.  That would be ideal of course but lets be real, putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to be have some “interesting” moments. Be prepared by anticipating some hiccups and just going with the flow. Even when things don’t go as planned, there is usually some sliver of joy or lesson in each experience.  Spend your energy finding gratitude in the chaos of life and enjoy as much of your time as possible. Tis the season!

Keep moving.  It might be cold where you live and time is short but it’s more important than ever to keep moving your body.  It doesn’t have to be a 2hr sweat-fest at the gym either, even a brisk walk after lunch or dinner will do the trick. Use that time to be alone and clear your mind or team up with someone you enjoy being around. Aim to get your heart rate slightly elevated for at least 20-30 minutes a day.  Breathing in the crisp air and being out in nature is one of the best cures for stress there is – and it doesn’t cost a dime!

What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months?

My favorite way is to walk.  I live in a beautiful neighborhood in bustling Crown Heights Brooklyn and there are tons of places to walk to nearby.  I often walk to my local food co-op or the perimeter of Prospect Park. Last winter, during the really bad blizzard we had, my boyfriend and I went out for a walk after the dust settled a little bit.  It was fun and the streets were eerily quiet as cars, trucks and buses were stuck right in the middle of the street.  I know snow, I was raised in central New York, but this accumulation surprised me.  It was quite a little workout too – making our way through a few feet of snow at a brisk pace got my heart rate up a little bit 🙂

It’s been a long time since Brooklyn has seen snow like this. Winter blizzard 2016.

 

Me standing in front of a car totally covered by the snow. Winter blizzard 2016.

 

Remember what’s most important , during this time of the year what’s most important is being in connection with your family and loved ones, taking a few moments to rest and reset for yourself and preparing for the opportunities that await you in the New Year!  Enjoy it!

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