Out of Your Head and Into the Holidays
With the official start to the holiday season (hello Halloween!), life can get really hectic really fast. Sometimes, it’s important to take a step back and check in with what’s going on inside your head. Are you feeling on edge, all the time? Is your head racing so much that it’s hard to fall asleep at night, unless you're exhausted? Perhaps this year you can try a new approach – to prioritize our peace and sanity in these hectic times.
And the good news is, you don’t have to go out of your way to do it, or schedule extra time just for this. Here are a few of my favorite quick and fast tips for finding a moment of peace in the otherwise chaotic flurry of the holidays:
- Obsessing over a decision you have to make? Instead of busying your mind with obsessive thoughts, try keeping a log. Each time you think of the problem, in that moment which decision sounds better? Write that down, either in a note on your phone or make two columns and tally marks on a piece of paper. Do this for one week, and at the end of the week, tally up the scores and go with the decision that has a majority of tallies.
- Noticing yourself getting all mixed up in all that is going on out there (other peoples’ business, your relationship and work dramas, and all the other things going on around you) and you're not able to give YOURself as much attention? Once you notice the pattern, instead, go inward. Spend more time with yourself and doing self-care behaviors. Remind yourself that all that stuff will carry on just fine without you – even if you take a few days or weeks to focus on yourself. Take this time to go on a walk alone, journal, take a bath, schedule a massage, or go shopping for something you have been needing for a while.
- Remind yourself that it is OKAY to say “NO” to things that are outside your comfort zone or schedule. If you are busy, you don’t have to commit to things that would infringe on your priorities. It is okay to prioritize your own well-being before someone else’s event or need. This is especially important during holiday times when we often neglect ourselves for others’ sake!
- Is your head spinning with to-do lists, worries, and just LIFE, but don’t have time to meditate? Think again! Even just one minute meditations count. Take one minute breaks throughout the day to close your eyes, draw your breath deep into your belly, and release your thoughts. You are allowed even just one minute of peace! Do this whenever you need to, and review at the end of the day to determine if it helped. Chances are you were just one inch closer to having a clear head.
Most of all, let yourself ENJOY the Halloween holiday for what it is – spend time with friends and family, embodying your silly side, forget who you are for a day, mindfully appreciating sweets (in moderation of course!), and running outside to play! Each time you get frustrated and you want to throw in the towel, step back and take a few minutes to feel the frustration, and then remind yourself of why you do the holidays. Usually, the answer is tradition, togetherness, and love. Go back to focusing on those feelings until the stressful ones diminish.
What are your favorite tips to managing stress during the holidays? Have any tips that might benefit others? Share them on Thrive’s Facebook and Twitter pages!
Written by: Laili Boozary, Intern with Thrive. She is a Master’s candidate at the University of Oklahoma Health and Exercise Department for Health Promotion. She plans to graduate in May 2017. She got her 200-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) certification from The Mindfulness Center.