The holiday season is a time of joy, gratitude, and unconditional love. Yet so often we forget how blessed we are as our lives fill with holiday season stress.
At this time of year, we are always busy doing things for other people. We are venturing out to the mall, planning elaborate meals, making decorations and baking cookies, counting down the days, hours, and minutes until everything has to be ready. We add so much pressure to create the “perfect” holiday that we often forget an important factor in the whole holiday season: ourselves.
Many of us feel guilty about prioritizing ourselves at this time of year; after all, the holiday season is all about giving, right? Of course, it is. But we must remember that if we don’t give back to ourselves, we cannot hope to give fully to others.
So what can you do to prioritize self-care during this stressful season? How can you ensure that you don’t burn out and end up in a crying mess come Christmas day? You can give yourself the gift of absolutely nothing.
Yes, that’s right.
So what do I mean by “absolutely nothing?”
Absolutely nothing is another phrase for “down time.” You need to find yourself time to do things that make your heart sing or give you a sense of relaxation. You need to turn off the constant chatter in your head and release the guilt you may feel about prioritizing yourself at this time of year.
Here are a few things to try:
1. Schedule an entire day for yourself.
I know, a whole day may seem like too much time, but you will thank yourself for doing this later. Do nothing except what uplifts you, relaxes you, and fills you with joy. Spend the entire day reading, or go out to lunch. Spend it painting or meditating. There is nothing wrong with any choice you make, just make a choice.
2. See a movie or pull the curtains and do it at home.
Pick something funny and uplifting that makes you smile and leaves you with a sense of bliss. Laughter is one of the best medicines for stress.
3. Decide to take at least 5-minutes a day to spend in meditation or prayer.
Sit comfortably, quiet your mind, and feel a sense of joy and love well up inside of you. See it engulf your entire body and emanate out into the world. Then go out into your day with that same sense of joy and love.
4. Take a long, hot bath.
Add some bubbles or bath salts and imagine your stress floating away with the steam of the water. Spend your time in the bathtub in quiet meditation, releasing the stressful thoughts and feelings from your body and mind.
Those are just a few, very simple ideas that you could choose to implement this holiday season to give yourself the gift of absolutely nothing. Everyone can find five minutes, half an hour or a day to give themselves this priceless gift.
Choose one of these ideas today, or create your own. Follow through with your decision to practice this idea. Your spirit will thank you for it come December 26th.
How do you de-stress during the holiday season? Share your practices with us in the comments below.
Catherine Mackmurdie is the woman behind fabulouscourage.com where she writes about working through fear, overcoming failure, and rocking your self-image. If holiday stress is a struggle for you, join her on the 25 Day ADVENT-ture Calendar Challenge.