What do you think of when you think “holidays”? Busy days wrapping presents, preparing meals, shopping? Fighting crowds, managing in-laws, or just wanting it all to be over?
We all have images in our minds associated with the holidays, and sometimes they are idyllic, sometimes full of dread. We Americans love the idea of the fresh roasted turkey or anticipating St. Nick’s arrival, but we often don’t prepare ourselves for all that this busy season entails.
We all know what it feels like to feel burnt out. Those of us in the wellness or service community—the Helpers and Healers out there—are very susceptible to feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious. We can feel burdened by others’ needs, responsibilities, and our unending to-do list. Lest we fall into the trap of losing another day this holiday season to exhaustion and fatigue, here are a few tips to get you started on your own holiday mental wellness care:
1--Set boundaries--and stick to them! Give yourself the day at work, and when it’s over, hang it up. This may take some finagling on your part, communicating with peers and being clear about your needs. None of this is easy, but it is worth it!
2--Be mindful. Daily. Mindfulness is a state of mind—and is accessible at ANY time! Guess what? You can be mindful RIGHT NOW—try it! Take a deep belly breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice your sensations in your body, any tension, or any less-tense places. Notice your thoughts right now, whether they be racing--or slower. Notice what the air is like on your skin, or the sounds in the room. Just notice. Don’t judge. And breathe. Welcome to The Present!
3--Be present when you can—Presence over Presents! Have you ever sat in your car, in traffic, immersed in a running to-do list in your head? Have you ever been at a Christmas concert and instead of noticing the music, you’re crafting that perfect email to your boss? In light of your work with being mindful, we don’t want potential times of joy and rejuvenation to pass us by. If you need to put something to bed, put it to bed, then move on, and be present. It will be worth it, I promise!
4--Practice positive affirmations. We deserve to tell ourselves positive things, yet sometimes we are our harshest critic. When you take time to stop and recharge, give yourself permission, and give yourself a mental pat on the back. You deserve it. Hint: this is hard work for high achievers! A great way to get started is think about what you’d say to a good friend and say it to yourself instead—even if you don’t believe it!
5--Develop gratitude. So your winter vacation had snags, your kids got sick, or your work got in the way of being able to take time off. Practice gratitude and self-compassion in those moments, as hard as that can be at times. Being grateful not only changes our attitude and mood, it can change momentum in our lives. If we want success and happiness in our lives, it starts here.
I hope these tips and suggestions resonate with you a bit, and help you move towards a sense of control over that slippery thing—time—and enjoy a holiday season full of joy and presence! Comment below if you have any other tips that work for you!