Feeling a little mixed-nuts over the holidays?

Winter is a super emotional time of the year- a time when we go within, hibernate, contemplate, ruminate. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, sometimes at this time of year, more so than the rest, all of our emotions can become compounded into one and can just be so much all in a single Yuletide dose.

Research shows shows us that it is not the stress itself that causes so much havoc, it is the PERCEPTION of that stress that does us in. I think it’s important t remember that it’s not the situation itself but rather what we CHOOSE to do with the situation that really counts.

While some things are unavoidable like long line-ups to buy your kid the “it toy” of the season, pressing new year deadlines at work, or you picked Uncle Eugene’s name out of the hat for Secret Santa and you have no clue what you are going to get him, there lies a golden opportunity to practice how you handle stress. This is accountability knocking at your door!

If you see Christmas season as a somewhat stressful time of year, the following 5 tips are recommended to help you act with love rather than react with limited patience: 

1. Count to 3 before you act. Notice how I didn’t say “react”? Reactions are knee jerk responses to perceived stress that seldom work for us. Granted, if an enraged bull of a woman is coming at you, then kick in that fight or flight, but unless the situation is life or death, you will serve yourself and others a great deal to pause and act consciously rather than react which is a lose-lose situation.

2. Put lavender essential oil on your wrists. Lavender is known for its calming and relaxation effects. Heck, I used it when I was in labour with my second child, it’s that good. Not saying this is going to keep you from losing your sh*t on someone. But the aromatherapeutic benefits are well known and at the very least it acts like an anchor because you know why you were putting it on in the first place and an inconspicuous act of taking a short whiff of your wrists will remind you of your mandate to practice your peace.

3. Move your body first thing in the am. In the winter we tend to slow way down physically. It’s minus 100 outside, the sidewalks haven’t been salted yet, yada yada yada. I’m not talking a 2-hour commitment at the gym here. Who has time for that when you’re rocking the busy holidays and a scroll of a Christmas list? If you started your day with 5 minutes of movement- yoga, stretches, crank out 50 squats and a few other things, follow a YouTube video- you start your day off right. Feel stiff and sore when you wake up? Your body is asking you to move it first thing because it’s looking to mobilize toxins that gather while we sleep leaving us feeling stiff and sore. Do yourself a solid here and get that keester going! What a small investment in yourself for huge benefits.

4. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude! As a disclaimer, this ought to be done 24/7/365 but I’m biased because I’ve seen it work wonders. That being said, why it’s especially important around the holiday season is because it’s THE season where almost right after the clock strikes 12 at midnight of Halloween we are bombarded with businesses vying for our attention of the latest gadgets and MUST HAVES- that’s my favorite by the way! It’s darn-tootin’ easy to feel that what we already have in our lives isn’t enough. We are reminded constantly to buy buy buy and in the pursuit of that random gift for Uncle Eugene we sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle, forgetting that our true selves just want to be happy and safe. Take a look around you right now and think of 5 things that you are grateful for- emotional, environmental, maybe even that foot massager because it reminds you to take care of yourself! This is how we create abundance without spending a pretty dime.

5. Cozy up and watch a hilarious movie. There’s nothing that brings out the feel-goods quite like a movie that makes you snort that coffee and baileys out your nose. Laughter relaxes the whole body, lowers stress hormones, makes you more resilient, improves sleep quality, boosts the immune system, enhances relationships….the list, much like Santa’s, is very long! Life is too short to be taken so seriously. So whatever it is that’s got you wound up, now is the time to make the choice to shelf it like Elf or keep doing the same thing over again which is, as we’ve been warned, not good for our sanity!

Everything covered here is based on real-life practice rather than just theory. It’s one thing to talk about it and analyze it and understand it….it’s completely another thing to actually DO it or BE it! Are you ready to step up your holiday game one small step at a time?

Happy Self-care Holidays,