Hello, my friends! Happy Sunday to you all!
If you follow me on social media, you probably noticed that this month has been very busy and filled with celebration. Literally, every person in my family/inner circle has a birthday in November, and as much as I love celebrating the ones I love, I am also, tired…and full of cake!
With so much happening in my life personally, it can feel challenging and even overwhelming to even think about ramping up for all the holiday festivities. I’ve learned, however, how to really take care of myself, honor my needs, and prepare for the holiday season in a way that allows me to feel calm, centered, and present.
The holidays can bring up a lot, for all of us. There are so many dynamics at play: funny family members, awkward political discourse, heated life discussion, and food…so much food. We are often trying to cram too much into our schedules, self-inducing loads of pressure to be perfectly organized, and often times, we’re not getting nearly as much sleep as we should, to be functioning at our peak capacity.
If the looming holiday season has you feeling a bit anxious about how you’ll possibly be able to manage it all, while staying sane, and maybe even enjoying yourself, it is my intention this week to share with you my simple tricks and tools to guide you through these next few weeks of celebration, cheer, and family.
First, make sure you tap into you before going out and engaging with anyone else. Sit in quiet with yourself and literally just be. Notice how your body feels, pay attention to your breath, let the thoughts in the mind come in and go out, and just sit for a few minutes to begin the day. Whether you’re traveling to visit family or loved ones, or are just keeping a low profile, remember the importance of checking in with yourself throughout these busy times. We know that there is high demand and high expectation on us, so front-load your self care by taking your mental health pulse on the regular.
One of the biggest sources of anxiety that I feel (and I know many who feel the same) is the dreaded awkward conversations that are had at family dinners. You know, the pesky, invasive life questions, the uncomfortable political disagreements, the frustrating small talk. We all know these conversations are likely to come up, so I always make sure I have myself armed and prepped with a kind, but guarded response. If there are topics of conversation you truly don’t wish to engage in, come up with a few one liners to guide the conversation elsewhere. Know your boundary, and be ready to use it when it comes up.
The other big stressor at holiday time is time, or lack thereof. We pack so much into our regular 24-hour days, and even though it’s meant to be in the spirit of fun and joy, it’s often, too much. Plan ahead this holiday season, take a look at your calendar and make sure to schedule in some down time that’s just for you. You know how much you can take as far as scheduling goes, so remember that it is okay to say no to the invites that don’t light you up, and to nix schedule fillers if they really aren’t aligned with your intentions for the holiday season. Literally cross the last thing to do off your mental to-do list! It really won’t matter and will give you the necessary pause and room to breathe. The people in your life would rather have you present and happy, than over-committed and overwhelmed.
Lastly, it’s so important to remember the practices you can rely on, that help you, feel like you. There are many dynamics and factors at play during the holidays: travel, new environments, lots of food, lack of sleep, our routines can go out the window leaving us feel frazzled and out of sorts. If there are practices that make you feel centered and present, use them, don’t lose them. I know that I feel best when I drink lots of water, meditate, have some alone time, and get a good sweat on in my day, so I absolutely know that these things are my priority, they truly help keep the holidays from becoming too hectic. You know your calming practices, remember to do them, especially as you maneuver through this next month or two!
Remember, the holidays are meant to be joyful and fun, and if you’re not experiencing these emotions, you have a choice. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to excuse yourself, it’s okay to go for a walk and clear your head, it’s absolutely okay to take care of you.
If the holiday season is a source of sadness and feeling lonely please remember you are not alone, you are complete, enough, loved, and worthy, so be kind to yourself and have no expectations that you should be or do anything but love yourself completely. The biggest tip I can pass along to everyone for this holiday season, is to remember your power and use it when you need to.
Cheers to lots of joy, laughter, and gratitude!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org