With the holidays upon us, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and busy-ness and forget to engage in the wonder and delight of the season. Stressors like travel, wrapping up projects at work and school, overeating, endless engagements, shopping, and difficult family dynamics can all contribute to a sense of overwhelm instead of joy.
So how do we enjoy the holidays? How can we stay centered, grounded, calm, and connected?
Here are a few tips to make your life during the holidays a little easier:
Take some time before all the busyness kicks in (concerts, parades, parties…) and truly be still. Sit in a quiet place that you love, think about your favouite family traditions or memories, try to envision those and capture the feeling of that time. Deliberately focus on the things you would like to hang on to and mentally release those which no longer serve you. Write down the happy, positive thoughts, feelings, and plans and put them in a place where you can see them each day.
Take a few moments each day to find some quiet – just a few minutes in quiet can help reduce the production so the stress hormone cortisol and may help you find perspective.
Warm baths are a great way to unwind, de-stress, and improve our moods (works great with the kiddos too!) A study from Japan showed that stress markers were considerably reduced in those people who took a bath within 60 minutes of an anxiety-inducing event. Sounds like a great reason to spring for those fancy Epsom Salts and essential oils to me!
Say “hi” to your honey
I don’t mean your “true love” a la The Twelve Days of Christmas, I mean actual honey like that produced by my friend Erin at Cedar House or my cousin Tom at Trueman Blueberry Farms
Did you know that honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties may improve your immunity. Here’s a tip: The darker the honey, the more powerful the antioxidant punch and the closer to your own neighbourhood it is produced, the better the anti-allergen properties!
Vitamin D stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of people in Canada every year. To further ease SAD symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days, or invest in a Happy Light!
Sheldon Isn’t Wrong
On “The Big Bang Theory”, Sheldon is known for offering a warm beverage in times of crisis. Well, according to researchers at the University of London, a soothing cup of tea may actually be the ticket. Participants in the study who dank tea were found to be able to reduce their stress levels (as measured by cortisol output) more quickly than those who drank an alternative. Now, you know I love a good cuppa coffee but the act of preparing, brewing, and sipping tea can be enough to give you a moment of calm.
When we are constantly interrupted by email, Instagram, FB, and text notifications, we end up in non-stop fight-flight-or-freeze mode (you know, caused by microbursts of adrenaline). No one needs this amount of stress! How about taking a page from earlier days when we didn’t have all these fancy gadgets and just turn them off and enjoy spending time with loved ones without tech-interruptions. Whatever new and exciting post your favourite Instagram celebrity just made can wait!
No. Non. Nein. Na. Nee. Nun. Nej. Nann. Nao.
Just learn how to say it and do it without apology. Even Martha Stewart and Rachel Hollis have a huge team helping them create those incredible Pinterest-worthy and Instagrammable table settings and customized giftable cookie tins. How about we all take a step back and we DON’T go overboard attempting to please everyone else with all the things: the shopping, the baking (all the baking), making (are you kidding me with this one?) and sending cards, and showing up perfectly styled to every event. NO! Instead, exercise your option to engage in self-care and graciously decline anything that dips too deeply into your happiness well.
Until next time.
The Coffee & Conversation Counsellor