Holiday tips: Slow Down

The Holiday Season will be here before we can catch our breath. There are only a few weeks left, and we all feel the pressure to get things done. 

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about those busy, anxious days of cooking, shopping, deciding who’s going to be at the dinner table on the big day. Will Uncle Amos make it? Will Aunt Shirley be willing to stay at her sister’s house this year? After all, with a new baby in the family, and four adult children with their partners, the bed count at Mom’s house is pretty booked.

Then there’s the food. The gifts. The decorations.

Halt! Stop! It’s too much!

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Time to step back and take a break before you’re completely consumed by holiday happenings.

I’m going to offer you a few tried and true ways to calm yourself and get your life in perspective; things I’ve learned during many Holiday Seasons where I ended up so tired I couldn’t really enjoy the time with my family and friends.

What I’m about to offer you is what I call my hassle-free prevention package. 

Also known as the four S’s, of stress reduction.

Let’s start with Sneak a Nap

Now this doesn’t have to be an all afternoon marathon nap to make up for having survived a few late nights. This is simply a pleasant little lie down, maybe with a book, maybe the cat curled along the bottom of your bed. Or, maybe as simple as falling asleep in the lazy-boy chair. Whatever your preferred form of napping, take one at least every third day from now until the big day. You’ll feel different, I promise.

The next one is one of my favorites; Soak in the tub.

Add a little Epsom salts, or your favorite bath gel. Run the water as warm as you can stand. Find a fluffy towel. A pot-bellied candle. A good book. Lock the bathroom door. Leave your cellphone in the kitchen and sink into the soothing water for at least 20 minutes. While you’re there, and if all those holiday worries start to interfere with your quiet time, imagine a tiny sailboat floating around the tub. Mentally put the worry you’re worrying about in the sailboat and watch it float away. I’ve used this technique for years. 

It works!

Then there’s Singing in the Shower.

Never mind whether you can sing or not, whether you might feel a little silly singing to yourself. Forget all that stuff. Simply let the water wash over you and sing whatever song comes into your head and touches your heart. Singing opens the chest, lets the organs of your body expand a little, allowing you to breathe more deeply, thus easing the tension stashed in your shoulders and neck. I sing in the shower ALL the time. So relaxing!

And the last one; Savor the moment

Before you go all busy brain on me, think about what it means to simply take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and let it slide back out. Feel how the tension eases. The sensation of sitting quietly and simply taking a breath, ignoring the world makes you feel more in control. And it’s so easy. And you can do it anywhere you want as often as you want. If you like, have a cup of something warm and soothing, maybe a touch of early holiday cheer.

That’s it for now. I hope this helps you deal with some of the stress leading up to the holidays.

Stay safe, and enjoy the weeks ahead,