Well? Has the stress of the season taken its toll on you yet? I saw a few people on social media today freaking out a little bit about the fact that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away and worrying that they wouldn’t get it all done. We’ve simplified. Simpler gift giving, decorating…simpler everything. Even still, as an introvert, just being around so many people can make me tense. So, I’m making sure to find ways to take a break from the holiday stress.
HOW TO TAKE A BREAK FROM THE HOLIDAY STRESS
Have some quiet time.
Read. Meditate. Take a walk. Soak in a warm bath.
Eat a small treat mindfully.
Maybe a piece of dark chocolate or cheese. Or make yourself a mug of hot cocoa or a bowl of oatmeal or soup. Find something that makes you feel all warm and cozy and really savor it.
Look at something beautiful.
Buy some fresh flowers or a poinsettia. Go outside to observe the beauty of nature. In the cemetery where my dad is buried, there are families of deer living there. I love to just sit in my car and watch them. Can’t go anywhere right now? Find some Instagram accounts with beautiful photos on them and lose yourself for a while.
Sit down and take note of where you are holding tension in your body.
Are the muscles in your neck stiff? Are you shoulders hunched and tight? Take a deep breath and when you exhale, feel some of that tension just slipping away. For more stubborn tension, do some progressive muscle release exercises to deliberately let that stress go.
Give yourself a massage.
Okay, it’s even better if you have time to book a massage but a self-massage will do in a pinch.
Do some deep breathing.
Just simply sitting and taking some deliberate deep breaths in and out can really help. If you want to go further, try some square breathing. Inhale to a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for a count of 4, and hold for 4. Some add in the element of visualizing drawing the sides of a square with each count of 4. You can find more details on square breathing here.
Try some relaxing essential oils.
One of my favorites is lavender. I use a lavender roller or mix some with coconut oil and massage it on at night. It helps me relax and fall asleep more easily. I also carry a lavender roller with me. I don’t like to use strong scented oils in public as I don’t want to cause issues for those with scent sensitivities but just inhaling the lavender in a stressful situation (like too much stimulation from being around too many people) can be soothing. Other oils that can be quite comforting are orange and cinnamon.
Take time to do something low-key but fun with your family.
Watch a favorite holiday movie together. Sing along to some Christmas music. Have an impromptu kitchen dance party. Stay at home in your pajamas all day and just enjoy hanging out together. Go tech free even just for a few hours. Snuggle with your family or your pets.
Maintain the basics of good self care.
Stay well nourished and well rested. Be sure to balance out all of the holiday goodies with delicious but nutritious food to give you energy and keep you feeling well. Put aside your to do list and get a good night’s sleep.
Go to church. Advent Sunday services can be inspiring and uplifting. Pray. Read the Bible – especially the story of Jesus’ birth to remind you of what the season is all about. If you’re Catholic, go to confession and let go of all that is weighing you down.
You can’t do everything. Prioritize your list and do what’s most important to you and your family. Delegate things that you can (gift wrapping, running errands, meal preparation, etc). Forget about the rest.
The holidays with all of the fun and celebration are always going to be somewhat hectic. But it shouldn’t be the memory of the stress that you carry with you into the new year. Embrace and savor the joy of the season and make time to keep that stress in check.