The holiday season is here.

With it comes hustle, bustle, and brim-filled calendars. It’s easy to let yourself get caught up in a whirlwind of activity. Expectations and obligations push us along. We can end up feeling stressed, depressed, and resentful.

Especially if you’re processing grief. Your heart is heavy. Everything seems hard.

But it is possible to find merry-and-bright lightheartedness in all the hustle! A little more joy. A little more carefree zing throughout the holiday.

First, start with awareness and self-reflection

Why are you allowing your calendar to get so chock full? Is over-commitment a way to prove something or be someone? Or are you trying to run from something? Emotional pain perhaps?

Take time to reflect. Write or journal your thoughts. Decide what you want this holiday season to be about. Maybe you want deeper connection, relationship with family and friends. Or a revival of spirituality during the season. Take time to decide what you want to have happen.

Self-care for the body

If you’ve been part of this community for a while, then you know about mind-body connection. They’re inseparable. The body tells the truth about what’s going on inside.

And the actions we take impacts our emotions and thoughts. So, when you find yourself feeling stressed, take care of your body.

  •  Get plenty of sleep. Stay nourished and hydrated.
  •  Take time to move, especially in fresh air. Go for walks. Do some yoga and stretching. Turn on the music and dance around the living room.
  •  Practice stress relief breathing techniques such as:
    o The Yawn – watch me wake up, greet the morning, and start the day off right
    o The Psychological Sigh
    Have you heard of the psychological sigh? Dan Pink shares a short video on How to Calm Down and Chill Out using this simple breathing tip. And Stanford neurobiologist Andrew Huberman discusses in more depth stress-taming tips here: The Psychological Sigh.

Self-care for the soul

It’s important to not only feed the body, but we must also feed our souls. Focus on the things that nourish your inner self.

I like to call them Joyful Moments – doing things that make your heart sing.

For some of you it might be singing holiday songs at the top of your lungs. Playing games with your dog. Journalling. Reading a good book while wrapped up in a blanket by the fireplace.

For others it could be getting together with a friend and making greeting cards. Or crafting Christmas ornaments. Doing something creative often puts us in the joy zone.

Or do something for someone else. Maybe you could make greeting cards and give them away to shut ins. Or send an encouraging message to someone via text or email letting them know you’re thinking of them.

Be intentional this holiday season

The point I’m making is to be intentional. Purposeful with your energy – physically and emotionally. Focus on the things that support what you really want for the season.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, gives us a good reminder. He says, “Push back against more, more, more and remain committed to better, better, better.”

So, when you begin feeling pressed and harried amidst a blaze of holiday activity, pause. When another invitation comes along, pause. When you start the day with a list too long, pause.

Find lightheartedness in the holiday hustle. Practice self-care for body, soul, and spirit.

Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,

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