I've been putting a lot more focus towards living more mindfully recently. In a time, and a season, where we are so frantic to get things done, cross things off of lists, hurry up, and schedule leisure time around social events, can make it complicated to find time, or even just a moment, for yourself. So instead of agonizing how to appreciate what limited downtime you might have, I've made my own list of some of the best ways to wind down so that being festive doesn't also make you burn out faster than a third of a strand of Christmas lights.
Add sunlight | Even if you can't book a last-minute winter getaway, spending more time outdoors, working near a window or sleeping with the blinds open can help your body think it's getting more vitamin D which can help improve your mood and general health.
Ask for help | Admittedly, this is the hardest one for me. In trying to be a good friend, hostess, coordinator etcetera, I get really caught up in the small details and try to make everything perfect. But with so much on my plate sometimes, my time management suffers and then I'm overwhelmed. To avoid this, ask a friend to pick up a bottle of wine for your holiday gathering or see if a colleague has any favorite spots they can suggest for the office gathering. It will take one thing off your long list so you'll have more time to appreciate the moment.
Be positive | The holidays can be a time to want everything to be perfect; from the corners of your wrapping paper to the execution of your holiday party. But instead of focusing on what can go wrong, enjoy everything that will go right. Your gift recipients will appreciate that you thought of them and no one will be checking the corners to make sure every fold is tucked neatly into itself.
Deck the halls | A friend recently got me hooked on essential oils and even if it's just a placebo effect of pretty smelling things making me feel better, I'm a believer. Citrus especially has been known to boost feelings of well-being so why not add some orange room spray to your typical holiday decor.
Exercise | Did you know that a walk from Boston Public Market to Downtown Crossing through Chinatown around the Public Garden down Charles Street and up to Quincy Market is around five miles? I didn't either. But a recent walk on that same route, taking in holiday decorations and doing a little holiday shopping logged just that. Pairing your errands with your fitness regimen doesn't have to be a pain and this might just be the best way to do it!
Focus your energy | In the past, I've given and tried to volunteer for too many things, especially during the holidays. Instead, this year I gave a little of my paycheck to causes I wanted to celebrate which allows for them to use my donation in a way that's most helpful to them.
Minimize your engagements | It might sound hard to say no but nobody expects you to be everywhere all the time. Cut down the amount of outings you have been invited to participate in. Saying you have another commitment, even if that commitment is your own wellness, is okay.
Sleep | "...in heavenly peace". Okay, so I can't guarantee that you will but making an effort to get more rest when you need more of it is a good way to take care of yourself. If you're like me and nine hours in the magic number, decide when you want to be in bed and make sure that you're winding things down at eats thirty minutes before.
Take a bath | Don't have the time (or money) to visit a spa? Make one at home! All you need is a warm tub but even a toasty foot soak can make a huge difference.
Unplug | One of the hardest thing to do during the holidays is step away from your planner, (I mean phone) and ignore the constant news alerts, Twitter follows and sale alerts but the good news is, they will still be there when you get back to them. Try taking a break from the constant updates and just be in the moment.
Watch TV | It might sound more idle than helpful but entertaining yourself, especially if it's comical, can be a huge stress-reliever.
Wrap yourself up | Whether it be a blanket, a robe or that sweatshirt you probably could have donated ages ago, curl up in something that makes you feel good and tune out the excess by yourself.
Got any other mindfulness tips for the holidays? Leave them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!