What an interesting time of year. The days are so short and the nights long so that it feels like a natural time for rest, reflection and introspection. At the same time many of us are pretty stressed around the holidays with preparation and maybe one too many social gathering.
I want to share some pointers that I find helpful myself to stay more sane, centered and kind:
Go outside every day
We need natural light, fresh air and to move the body. Even if the weather is more for cuddling up and staying inside, go out at least for a short time every day. Make it a walk, take a friend and don’t look at your phone for the time.
Find a brief time to meditate every day
You might think that you don’t even find the time for daily meditation when things are less hectic but here is the thing: Pausing for a moment will give you the sense of more time and a chance for your system to reset. Don’t be too proud to meditate even for one minute! If you like streaks, use the Insight Timer app to count the days you have meditated in a row.
Check in with yourself several times per day and ask: What do I need right now?
This can be as part of a meditation or just a real check-in: How are you feeling right now? How does the body feel? What does it need? What do you need right now? While you can not always do that, you can more often than you think: Like stand up, not eating another piece of candy, go pee, etc. The body’s needs are mostly quite simple.
Move your body: Every bit counts
If you can’t make it to the gym these days and the weather doesn’t allow for runs or even walks, take the stairs whenever you can, stand up during phone calls, stretch while you wait for the tea kettle to boil, park your car a little further away or walk one extra metro or bus stop. Many apps offer all kind of audio workouts of any lengths if you like somebody to coax you a session with nice music (I use Aaptiv).
Have your cookie
Don’t deny yourself eating the yummy (and probably not so healthy) holiday food but eat it in moderation – if possible (and if you end up overeating go to the next pointer). Have one cookie (instead of four) and eat it mindfully. Try to not have conversations while snacking, as chances are that you don’t taste your food and you might end up eating more than is good for you.
Practice self-compassion and non-judging
Holiday times are ripe for falling off your wagon. Instead of being hard on yourself, expect it, acknowledge that you are doing the best you can at this time (no, you really do!), give yourself some love and move on. Knowing that others are feeling the same way helps to be kinder and more understanding with others who might also be over-sugared, under-exercised and stressed out.
Remember that the holiday time will pass and that January is just around the corner!