Despite the festivities, garlands, sugar cookies, and twinkle lights, this time of the year can feel a bit, well, less than tranquil. From lost luggage, to loneliness, to delayed flights, to family drama, the holidays can wreak havoc on our mental health.
To combat the chaos, I’ve tried to adjust my expectations and output over the years. No more holiday cards (although I SO love receiving them), no piles of gifts (it’s consumables and experiences), or guilt (who needs that?!). Slow has become my motto and the space between Christmas and New Year’s Day is my reset button (plus hosting YOU for Sunday’s Planning 2020 TDJ Style online event!).
Tomorrow we’ll head to Tim’s cabin in the woods with three pups and a kitty to spend the next few days. On Christmas Day there will be a movie (Little Women or Bombshell?) and Chinese food, followed by camping out in front of a never-ending fire, reading, watching documentaries, walking in the woods, prepping for Sunday and TDJ Live (you’re coming, right?!), playing in my Daybook, and napping. Rinse and repeat for a few days.
Over the past many years I’ve dabbled with ways to ease the holiday season angst. While this list is non-exhaustive, the 10 suggestions below are tried and true. Try what resonates, and leave the rest.
1. Get outside. Brisk, fresh, outdoor air helps ground me. When you need a moment, excuse yourself, don your layers, and go for a walk. Savor the scent of pine trees and wood smoke. Recognize your interconnection with nature. Take in this larger view to help put things in perspective.
2. Center. Keep up (or better yet, increase!) your favorite self-care centering practices. Sip tea, sit on a meditation cushion, write in your journal, practice on your yoga mat, create a collage, soak in the tub, stay hydrated, get good sleep, and balance out the treats with plants. You know the drill!
3. Give. Gift your loved ones a batch of homemade jam, a beloved book, an artisanal treat from a small business, a box of their favorite tea (or whip up your own blend), or tickets to see an exhibit. Think useful and consumable. Go for experiences. Volunteer. Sponsor a farm animal. Donate to a special cause. Adopt an orangutan.
4. Compassion. This time of year can be hard. Be gentle with yourself and others. Know we’re all doing the best we can. Practice loving-kindness meditation. This may have been a hard year. Honor your growth, lessons learned, and what’s to come. Notice how you talk to yourself and practice treating yourself as you would a dear friend.
5. Breathe. When your shoulders creep toward your ears, your heart races while stuck in traffic, or stress builds, tune in to your breath. Inhale to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, repeat. Again and again. Try this 5-minute meditation.
6. Travel with ease. Print and use the Tranquil Travel checklist on Tranquil Treasures. Save space by rolling your clothing into your luggage. Choose layers perfect for mixing and matching (hello, TranquiliT), items that easily dress up with pearls and heels or down with clogs and a sweatshirt. When possible, choose off-peak travel to avoid congestion.
7. Gratitude. Appreciate the little things such as a warm bath, a steaming cuppa tea, a cozy bed, or a devoted pet. Write them down. Studies show that expressing gratitude can lower stress levels, help you sleep better, improve self-esteem, enhance empathy, and adjust your attitude.
8. Move. Exercise to release endorphins, reduce stress, and offset those extra holiday cookies. Put on your hiking boots or tennis shoes and hit the trails. Roll out your yoga mat and do a few sun salutations. Get on your bike and start pedaling.
9. Celebrate. If you’re feeling a bit of the bah humbug blues, put on your favorite holiday film (Love Actually anyone?!), create a playlist of festive tunes (here’s one for you!), go see The Nutcracker, and put up a few holiday decorations that evoke good memories. Review the year and list your highlights.
10. Dream. Create time to daydream about the new year. What do you hope to see, taste, touch, smell, and hear in the coming year? List everything that comes to mind and focus on the experiences you hope to have. And, of course, join us for New Year, Fresh Start TDJ Live.
Make this holiday yours. Focus on what you can control, listen to your body, and marinate in what brings you joy. You’re beautiful and I’m so grateful for you! From my family to yours, happy holidays! Bisous. x
P.S. Have 45 minutes? Watch this video where I share even more!