How to Keep Calm and Centered During the Holidays
If you are anything like me during the holiday season, you probably do too much. To be transported like a twig in a rushing river in the flurry of activities that surround our end-of-the-year special days is easy.
No one is particularly interested or has time for much else than to finish the business at end and dedicate the rest of the time to buy presents, eat meals at restaurants (more than we can afford in every sense of the way, bask in the love of our children home for the break, and sort of let go of our routine tasks to participate in this marvelous exchange of material goods and tokens of love. It is all positive, and serves the function of expanding our ability to care for ourselves and for others.
When the holidays end the dull-drum of every-day life resumes. We may experience a let down of some sort, a guilty conscience for the few extra pounds gained, or simply the realization that our over-the-top excitement of before generated more goals and wishes than our reality warrants. Whatever the case, it is not uncommon to feel a bit empty and demure inside, especially if our jobs entail long hour in traffic and at the office.
Here are some fire-sure ways to prevent some of this let down from happening:
1) Make a point to spend at least one hour alone every day. Go on a hike in nature (without your cell!), knit, arrange photo albums, or wash the dishes. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it is an activity that doesn’t not require much effort and that you appreciate to some degree. Practice Mindfulness, in that you stay focused on exactly what you are doing, regardless of its simplicity. You will feel immediately rejuvenated and appreciative of the silence around you.
2) Practice focusing and following your breathing for a few minutes every four to five hours. The breath is our anchor for getting away from the over-worked, over-worrying mind, and if we stay focused on it, in and out, in and out, there is no space for anything else to enter our awareness. Plus, it keeps us in touch with what is important, the NOW moment (as opposed to the past or the future).
3) Stay away from caffeine and sugar as much as possible. Any form of sugar or caffeine is considered a stimulant; if paired with alcohol (or in the form of alcohol), it causes us to feel at first excited and seemingly carefree, but carry consequences which we may regret later on. Stimulants reduce inhibitions, which in turn cause us to say or do things we don’t really want to say or do. Besides, they add to our weight and to a sense of being perennially famished because of the rise in insulin levels.
4) Return to some of the basic routines that allow you to stay centered in yourself on a daily basis. If you do yoga, don’t stop now no matter what. If you run or sing for relaxation keep that going. It is the time to love ourselves more, not less for the sake of others. In fact, by loving ourselves more during these times we provide valid examples of what it means to give in earnest, paradoxical as it may seems.
5) Practice being loving and generous beyond what you are commonly used to. If you don’t like someone, make a point of sending them a card wishing them happy holidays. Surprise someone with an unexpected token of your appreciation. Stop to talk to a homeless person, buy him or her a dinner. You will be amazed at how YOU will feel. Remember that love and generosity go beyond what our conscious minds realize: they have a ripple effect which improves the wellbeing of all and may even save a person from committing acts of self-destruction.
When the time to be ”serious,” returns, remember that that kind of feeling doesn’t have to be relegated to when you are with others: It is always inside of you, and can be replicated just by tapping within and feeling the warmth that pervades and is your own heart.
With Many Blessings,