This December, we are entering the peak holiday season. Houses are decorated eloquently with bright and brilliant lights, the shops are cozied with wreaths and seasonal music, and everything feels a little cheerier. Tis’ the season for easing back next to a crackling fire and enjoying some warm apple cider, hot cocoa, or even mulled wine, if that’s more your style.
However, we certainly can’t deny that, in conjunction with the jolly bliss that encompasses our neighborhood, this time of year also brings along its fair share of stressors. These back-to-back holidays seem to almost stack up on one another, decorations overlapping and cluttering the house. For some, these months can feel long, tiresome, and expensive.
While evidently there is the financial pressure that comes with buying gifts, decorations, and costumes, some stressors may extend deeper. Too many obligations, an outrageous amount of holiday parties, including work events. Family you haven’t seen in months, maybe even years, travel far and wide to stay with you. Or perhaps you’re taking your turn to visit them. Friends want to host white elephants, secret santa, and cookie-baking contests. Your children are stars in their school’s holiday play on a Wednesday night.
On the outside, all of it seems wonderful. A change of pace, a magical escape from life’s ups and downs. But, it can simultaneously be quite a lot to juggle. I mean, there’s only 24-hours in a day!
Here are 3 simple and easy ways to relax and welcome calm into our busy lives this holiday season:
Take a few quiet moments for yourself
Hiding away for some alone time can be a near-impossible feat, especially at this time of year. Yet, it’s important to ensure you are getting quality stillness when able. If you find a spare minute or two, spend some time breathing deeply, enjoying your view from the window, or journaling. These oftentimes seldom but cherished moments can help us align with our center and embrace equilibrium at its finest. Some silence can also help clear any debris from our mind so that our true thoughts and feelings are made apparent.
Protect your free time
If you’re anything like me, you rarely ever say “no” to a fun gathering. When the holidays roll in, we want to do everything possible, stuffing plans into every sparse moment of our schedule. Don’t forget about the last-minute shopping trips, cooking, or final deep cleans before the guests arrive. However, it’s vital that we protect our free time; we don’t have the energy for everything. If you’re tired, don’t be afraid to decline an invitation, and instead spend your weekend indoors participating in cozier tasks, like jigsaw puzzles or reading. Or, perhaps go another route and find ways to reduce overlap in your plans. Maybe try online shopping to clear up more space in your schedule, or host a potluck rather than trying to prepare everything yourself. Have fun, but take time to rest when you need it.
Ultimately, the core theme to holidays is gratitude. This is a great time to be thankful for everything currently present in our life. Holidays are an opportunity to express gratitude for our home, modes of transportation, food on the table, warm clothes, the splendid presence of friends and family, the brief escape from Texas heat, and more. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in everything we’re missing. This is especially true when we’re focusing on buying and receiving mounds of presents. But the true meaning of this time of year is appreciating exactly where we are, right here in this moment, and finding comfort in that. No matter what may be going on in your life, I assure you that there is so much to be grateful for.
Don’t forget to prioritize your own needs every now and again—there’s nothing wrong with doing so. In fact, an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season can be exemplified when you care for your mental health. Take this time to unwind as the year comes to a close, and a new year, full of new opportunities, blossoms.
Have a wonderful holiday season!