For as long as I can remember, the holiday parties at the end of the year have always put on a few extra pounds where I didn’t want them, piled stress onto my already stressful life, and shoved me smack in the middle of all kinds of uncomfortable situations I’d tried to avoid throughout the previous 11+ months.
Over the years, I’ve learned some great ways to keep myself grounded throughout the demands of the holiday season. They’re simple, they take only a few minutes, and they can make the difference between tolerating the end-of-the-year hoopla and enjoying it.
Try any or all of these suggestions and let me know how it works out for you:
1. Walking meditation. Step outside and go for a walk. Notice your feet touching the ground, and pay attention to how the surface feels. Imagine the earth below that surface and your feet connecting with it. Hear and feel the crunching of the leaves or the soft snow beneath your feet.
2. Mindful shower. Water is not only cleansing but healing. As you stand in the shower, feel the sensation of the water hitting the top of your head and your face, neck, and shoulders. Pretend that it’s coming from a waterfall you’re standing beneath. Then gaze at the water swirling down the drain. Imagine your worries traveling down the drain with it.
3. Lie on the floor. Feel gravity drawing you closer to the earth. Take a few moments to scan your body for tension, from the tip of your toes to the top of your head. Allow Mother Earth to draw the tension away from your body.
4. Stretch or exercise. Five or ten minutes of gentle stretching or moderate exercise is all it takes to shift your mind out of your head. Go outdoors, if possible. The fresh air (even if it’s very cold!) does wonders.
5. Listen to your favorite tunes. Put on your headphones, listen to your favorite standbys, and let the music transport you to a fun place.
6. Laugh. Tell some jokes or put on a funny movie and share a moment of mirth with your family or friends. Laughter’s not only healthy—it’s contagious!
7. Breathe. Inhale to a count of four and exhale (through your nose) to a count of four. Then inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of six. Finally, inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of eight. Repeat as often as you like. You can do this while walking or sitting to help calm and center yourself.
8. Brew some tea. There’s a lot to be said about the benefits of tea rituals. Brew yourself a nice cup of hot tea. Sit and savor its smell and taste.
There! Now aren’t you more relaxed just thinking about these calming activities?