Oh the holidays! Naughty & Nice.
Sure, they're filled with comfort and joy.. but they can also be speckled with stress and sadness too. There's a ton of pressure for the holidays to be perfect. Jolly, even! For the gifts to be perfect.. the food to be perfect.. for you to attend every party you're invited to - and to shine at each party! It can be a lot to deal with. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you flow through this holiday season with ease.
Decide what is important to you. YOU. Not what's important to your mom, dad, partner, bestie, brother, sister, grandparents. What do you enjoy about the holidays? Take a minute to really think about it. Then honor that. Direct your energy towards what you most enjoy about the holidays. Even if that means saying no to a party or two. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so why spend it doing things you don't really want to be doing?
Accept what you're feeling. It's so easy to get caught up in the "'Tis the season I'm supposed to be happy" shenanigans. If you're not feeling it, acknowledge what it is that you are feeling. Being sad around the holidays is actually pretty normal. Maybe you're missing a loved one, maybe this year isn't as cheerful as the last, maybe you're disappointed in a family member or friend. Whatever you're feeling is fine. You are human. Move with that instead of against it.
Forget perfection. It doesn't exist. The holidays tend to bring about the delusion of perfection. Finding the perfect gift, throwing the perfect party/being the perfect party guest, having a perfect dinner, family, tree, etc. In reality, the gifts may not be perfect, the party might be lame, dinner may be late, your cousin might still be a jerk, and your tree might be crooked. Who cares! You have no control over these circumstances, so there's no use in letting them ruin your holiday vibes. If your heart is in the right place, the gifts, dinners and parties will come across as genuine and, in turn, will be genuinely appreciated, imperfections aside.
All that being said, stress can still sneak its greedy little fingers into our world, especially this time of year. When and if that happens, here are a few tricks to help keep it at bay.
- Breathe. As cliche as that sounds, do it. Stop wherever you are when you feel the holiday tension build and take 5 Long, slow, nourishing breaths. Maybe even close your eyes. From your toes all the way to your head, let the breath wash through you. Be interested in it. Just for 5 cycles. You're going to be breathing anyway, why not pay attention to it for a few cycles? You'll feel better after for sure.
- Squeeze. There's an acupressure point called the Hoku Point that can relieve tension and headaches as well as muscle or joint pain in the body. You can do this anywhere- the grocery store line, in traffic, at a party. To locate it, take the thumb and index finger of one hand and squeeze the muscle in between your thumb and index finger on the opposite hand for a few seconds to relive some holiday tension.
- Flow. Stick with your normal fitness routine as much as you possibly can. Try to keep up with your gym sessions, yoga practice, running, or spinning habits as much as possible. If you don't have time for your full routine, go for a short walk or hike. Do something active even if you don't feel like it. Sometimes a simple, quiet walk does wonders for the body and for the soul. Take a few minutes every day to clear your head and to reconnect to what YOU love about the holidays.
May this be your brightest and least stressful holiday season yet! Cheers to you and yours!
ho ho ho,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Mary has called Los Angeles home since 2010. She is a licensed massage therapist, as well as a registered yoga instructor with 300+ hours of training. She's the co-founder/owner of YogaFam, which hosts family oriented yoga adventures around Southern California and beyond. Mary can be found teaching yoga in studios or privately all over the west-side of LA, soaking up some California sun on a hike or at the beach, or tackling a taco tuesday. She strives to approach life with love, gratitude and self-acceptance, and she hopes to inspire her readers to do the same. "On our beautifully messy path to radical acceptance, rather than aiming for perfection, we discover how to love ourselves into wholeness."