This time of year, people tend to be wound pretty tight. The intensity gains momentum as we move into December, in preparation for the holidays. This month, make it a habit to relax.
You may think this relaxing idea sounds crazy, so let’s analyze the facts:
- Stress causes LOTS of health problems and can sometimes make us cranky
- When we feel rushed, we tend to make mistakes, forget important details and even get hurt
- Burning the candle at both ends may contribute to us being less productive in the long run
- We make poor food choices when we don’t take some time to plan ahead, which leads to unnecessary remorse
- Our exercise routine is likely to get pushed aside because we think we are much too busy for self-care, when the exercise will help us feel better
- Working, shopping, decorating, entertaining are all more enjoyable when you are able to go through the process in a calm, relaxed manner
Have I sold you on this idea yet? Keep in mind that whether you choose to be uptight or relaxed, time will pass you by just the same. YOU decide how you want to live your life, one day at a time. Thanksgiving dinner will come and go whether you are a frazzled mess or lighthearted and calm. Everything works out fine in the end, even if it isn’t perfect!
Okay, so this all sounds like a fairytale, right? Doesn’t have to be. Here are some ideas to help you RELAX your way into 2017:
- When you feel anxious, focus on your breathing. Take some slow, deep, breaths by breathing in for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for eight. Try to breaths that go into your belly. Doing this little exercise for even a minute or two will allow you to relax into the present moment.
- Allow more time than you think you need for your tasks. By doing this, you won’t be as apt to rush. For example: shopping at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving is going to take more time than if you do it the Monday before the holiday. Expect it to take time and if that is the only day you are able to shop, mentally prepare for this and enjoy the process. Odds are good you will run into your neighbors and friends during the outing, so enjoy it!
- Plan a few minutes at the end of the day for quiet time. You may choose to read something light, listen to your favorite music, or sit in silence and pet your dog. (My Sophie likes that last idea best!)
- When you have lots to accomplish and feel stressed, ASK for help. Are there other members of your family who can run and pick up the item you forgot at the store, or wrap the last-minute gift? This small favor may give you a chance to sit for 5 minutes and breathe.
- Go ahead and exercise when you think you don’t have time. You DO have time and you will feel much more relaxed because you did!
- What is it that you love to do? Whatever it is, do it, even if it is only for half an hour or so.
I have a client that recently went on an overnight retreat. She unexpectedly had extra time the day she was preparing to leave and spent oodles of time packing. It was very relaxing and peaceful, and it set her up to enjoy her experience of the retreat even more fully.
So, what will I do differently? I am having guests for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have already begun the process of cleaning the house, so I am not running around like a turkey with my head cut off on Wednesday. I am looking at the week ahead and deciding when I will do the shopping, make the pies, set the table, etc. Simply reviewing the list of what needs to happen and PLANNING makes me feel more relaxed.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. I wish you and your family a most blessed Thanksgiving!