The Winter Holiday Survival (Soul Revival) Resource Guide for 2017
Christmas and the winter holidays has got to be one of the most hectic times of the year. And, the season is now in full swing! Stores are bustling with holiday shoppers. Children are eager to be off school for the winter breaks. Friends and family are finalizing their travel plans to see one another. While others are packing up their belongings to retreat to warmer climes. Whatever your plans are, this can be a busy, stressful, and even triggering season.
To help you get through this high energy time of year in one piece, here are 5 of my mood-stabilizing, anxiety reducing, stress-busting holiday tips. So, that you not only survive the holidays, but enjoy them, too 🙂
Holiday Survival Solution #1: Combating the “Noise”
Sometimes it feels like all the “white noise” only gets louder during the holiday season: anxious drivers honking in rush hour traffic, packed public buses sloshing through snow, stores blaring holiday tunes, and excited dogs barking at UPS men delivering early Christmas packages…This can be a very noisy month! With this amateur symphony of sounds as our daily soundtrack, it can be both unsettling and anxiety-inducing to both our minds and spirits.
To get your anxiety (and cortisol) levels down, start by taking 5-9 good, deep belly breaths. Inhale grounding, calming energy through your nose. And exhale your stresses and worries through your nose; releasing any and all tensions.
Feeling a little foggy, having trouble focusing, or struggling with decision-making? Deep, belly breathing can help! Belly breathing fully oxygenates your lungs (both upper and lower). It gives your brain an oxygen boost to better concentrate, problem-solve, and think clearly.
Choosing Your Noise with Calming Meditation Music
So, take a few moments each day to choose your “noise”. That’s right, pick sounds which soothe instead of agitate. Here are a few of my favourite musical meditations. I often listen to these when I am working, needing to realign, ground, focus or calm myself:
- 7 Chakra Healing– one of my favourites for all-around grounding and centering.
- Anti-Anxiety Cleanse– helpful for stopping overthinking, dealing with inner conflicts, worry, stress and anxiety.
- Healing Angelic Music– very calming and soothing; a great anxiety reducer and de-stressor.
- Restful Sleep Music- with beautiful, scenic visuals this 3-hour instrumental by Peder Helland is just the ticket for next stop, Dreamland! Both soothing and relaxing it puts me right out at bedtime, every time.
Whether it’s on your commute to work, during your lunch break, when you get home at the end of the day, just before you go to sleep, or whenever things just start getting to be too much: BREATHE. Then choose your noise. And breathe, again.
Holiday Survival Solution #2: Take A Step Forward
Since Thanksgiving, many of us have been fortunate to have enjoyed all the delicious, rich foods, sugary treats and feasting that comes with harvest. With Christmas and the holiday season fast approaching, you are likely to be feasting again. But, your digestive system may have taken a bit of a beating, and is in need of some TLC.
After heavy meals or your last meal of the day, take at least 100 steps (that’s a minimum of a 20 minute walk round-trip… not much at all!) to aid in your digestion. As the day winds down, so does your digestion system. It gets slower.
So gentle movement and exercise like walking, helps to kickstart your metabolism. Plus, a walk in the night air can help with easing you into a restful sleep!
Making Your 100 Steps to Better Health Fun!
- Take the dog(s) out after dinner. They will love the extra outing.
- Put the baby in the stroller or Snuggy- it’ll be great for the little one’s (and your) sleep routine.
- Take your teenager, partner or friend- this can be a great time to bond, and start or continue open dialogues.
- Going it alone? Turn your walks into an act of community service- carry a bag and pick up garbage or beverage bottles in your neighbourhood. The beverage bottles can be returned to your local Recycling Depot for some extra holiday spending money 🙂
Holiday Survival Solution #3: H2O is the First Medicine
Another great digestive support over the holiday season (and all year round!) is drinking lemon water and/or ginger water. Drink 1 large glass of hot water with fresh lemon and/or ginger before or after meals. Especially, after greasy or fatty meals. (I “cheat” and buy chopped or minced ginger for easy preparation, and use 1 heaping teaspoon of ginger per glass).
Benefits of Lemon-Ginger Homemade Tonics
This simple to prepare tonic helps in breaking down sugars, and supporting weight loss and maintenance. I like having lemon and ginger together in my water. I find the ginger cuts down on the tart, bitterness of the lemon, and gives the water more flavour. While the lemon offers a refreshing after taste. Some benefits of this homemade blend:
- The vitamin C from the fresh lemon, also helps to protect you from colds and can act as an immuno-booster. With the added benefits of cleansing your system, and freshening your breath!
- Ginger is an age old tonic. It has beneficial antioxidant properties and relieves nausea. Both ginger and lemon are known to be anti-inflammatory.
Keep some lemon-ginger infused water in your car, at your desk and in your bag to easily keep up with your new routine.
Holiday Survival Solution #4: Listen To Your Needs
Oooh, Retreat Time! Me Time. Do-Not-Disturb-This-Is-My-Down-Time. Whatever you like to call it, remember to listen to your inner voice. And know that it is good and okay to take the time, and space to “tune out” or “tune in” and recharge your mind, body and soul.
The practice of “Me Time” is a healthy, positive approach any time. But especially, at times of high stress; when life gets too hectic or chaotic.
Easy “Me Time” Ideas
Having a full day of Me Time is ideal. But, even a minimum of 10-30 minutes can make a world of a difference in your energy levels, mood and vibration! Wondering what to do for your self-replenishing time?
- Ground yourself with a calming, aromatherapy bath;
- Clear your mind through meditation;
- Listen to or read something uplifting- I love Ros Place’s Monday Morning Messages! Have a listen to this one on Choosing Love;
- Realign your body with stretching and exercise;
- Get out in Nature and walk or hike. Get your blood bumping and connect with the Earth;
- Enjoy quiet, electronic/digital-free time with some leisurely reading;
- Express your creative Self through writing, journaling, colouring (a great way to calm the mind and spirit), painting, drawing or scrapbooking;
- Relax and unwind to soothing music;
- Raise your vibration and create a Gratitude List. Write done as many people and things you are grateful for and why you are thankful for them. This is an easy way to shift your focus to the positives, leaving you feeling better and more optimistic. Or,
- Dance out your body’s tension. (One of my favourites! Dancing can be so cathartic. And all you need is some space in your living room or backyard).
What a world we live in when we have to schedule our own selves in! But, there it is. That pretty much sums up the basis of self-care: being mindful and actively creating centering, renewal time for yourself. Just do remember to schedule yourself in.
Holiday Survival Solution #5: RVSP Not Yet Received
Shopping, baking, cooking, to-do lists, writing Christmas cards, organizing family engagements, attending work events, school events, community events…just writing that list stressed me out! So, don’t over-schedule yourself! Yes, you want to be nice and attend all your numerous holiday invites. But, keep it manageable. It is okay to turn down some invites. Or, even RSVP as a ‘maybe’.
The Holidays Are About Friends and Family
The holidays are about friends and family. They are an opportunity for joyous encounters with your love ones. (And an opportunity to enjoy some time to yourself). The holidays are also about love, compassion, empathy, gratitude, and celebrating life. And, this extends inward to you through self-love, self-compassion, and self-care.
So, if you are feeling guilty or “guilted”, stressed or obligated to attend, or do things you don’t want to do. Or, you just don’t have the mental, emotional, or spiritual capacity to do it at that time; chances are you should probably decline. Otherwise, you likely won’t participate from a fully heart-centered space. Or, show up as your self. Your whole and authentic Self.
When declining invites, you can always offer to reschedule for after the holidays. Giving you the power to balance your schedule better. Suggest scheduling some of your meet-ups and socials in January. Spacing out your engagements over a 2-month period, instead of a 2-week period, can be a healthy way of breaking up the long, and often dreary month of January.
Remember, to take care of you! There is little point in showing up, if you cannot show up happy, calm and presenting your full, bright and shining Self. There is little reward in doing things if you are not doing them from a heart-centered space.
So here’s to joyous encounters, raising your vibration (and that of others), being mindful of your needs, and living Lighter, Brighter and FULLER lives together!
Have a Happy, Blessed and Stress-free Holiday Season Everyone!!!
Melanie Christian Writes blog posts are short stories, sharings about writing and editing and inspired personal growth tips acquired for Writer-Editor, Melanie Christian