Staying Sane in the Season of Giving

Isn't it interesting how the season of celebrations can be the most stressful time of the year for people?

I mean, just the expectation to have fun; to be in the MOOD to celebrate creates a little tinge of anxiety in me.

Don't get me wrong, I love fun. I love celebrating. But I also love my quiet time (something I don't have a lot of in this stage of my life with small children). So when my calendar is filled with not only work responsibilities but school events and activities, family activities and an assortment of other places to be and peoples to see; it does not leave much time for me.

I am 42 years old and I've only recently figured out that demanding ME time is not selfish but loving. Loving to myself and in turn; loving to my family. Because let's face it, if mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

So then what? How do we resist the wine and sugar merry-go-round that is December? How do we give ourselves love – and dare I say – double down on giving ourselves love in this Season-of-Giving?

Here's what I got:

Yoga. I'm sure you will shocked that I suggest you do yoga. Here's the thing though; it doesn't have to be a long class to make a difference. Don't make the great be the enemy of the just do something. A posture or two before you go to sleep or on the kitchen floor while the water boils can make a huge difference. Here are some examples from my kitchen floor.

 

  Plop down on your floor wherever you are.  Fold over from your hips and grab what you can.  Let it be easeful - it doesn't matter how flexible you are or aren't.  Feel a stretch but the most important part is your breath and where you mind is.  Bring them together.  Bring your mind to your breath and feel your body in this position.  Feel.  Breath.  Soften.  Stay for 10 breaths and then sit up and make sure your water isn't boiling over (just kidding).

 

Plop down on your floor wherever you are.  Fold over from your hips and grab what you can.  Let it be easeful - it doesn't matter how flexible you are or aren't.  Feel a stretch but the most important part is your breath and where you mind is.  Bring them together.  Bring your mind to your breath and feel your body in this position.  Feel.  Breath.  Soften.  Stay for 10 breaths and then sit up and make sure your water isn't boiling over (just kidding).

  Still in your seat, cross your right elbow over your left and then cross your forearms and connect your palms or the back of your hands.  If this isn't happening - give yourself a big ol' hug.  Breath so deeply that you can feel your lungs expand your ribs which stretch the muscles around the torso up into the neck.  Close your eyes.  Feel this body breath in this way.  Soften and breath.  Keep your mind on your breath and breath 8 big rounds.  Then switch sides.

 

Still in your seat, cross your right elbow over your left and then cross your forearms and connect your palms or the back of your hands.  If this isn't happening - give yourself a big ol' hug.  Breath so deeply that you can feel your lungs expand your ribs which stretch the muscles around the torso up into the neck.  Close your eyes.  Feel this body breath in this way.  Soften and breath.  Keep your mind on your breath and breath 8 big rounds.  Then switch sides.

If you happen to have more time and space – but not enough space to go to the studio – here is a long vinyasa and a short hatha video for your living room yoga pleasure.

Meditation. Oh you knew that was coming! But you don't have to sit with your legs crossed and watch your mind go bonkers while you try to sit still. How about being simply mindful while you do basic things? Walk down the street and actually look and smile at every person you see (this is magical, I suggest you try this). Really see them and greet them. See the trees, see the buildings, see everything around you. When you notice your mind wandering and thinking; come back to your breath and your environment.

Just be mindful and don't let you mind go bonkers. Notice when it does. Notice when your mind is judging and planning and opining and doing what it does. Its not you. You aren't your mind and its not your boss. So breath space in between those thoughts (that cause stress by the way) and let them go.

Gratitude. Tis the season for everyone to tell you to have gratitude. And I very rarely say this; but everyone's right. FEELING gratitude (not thinking it) literally changes the neurochemicals in your brain. It reduces stress and makes you feel better. I like the good ol' gratitude shower (it's better than the to-do-list shower). When you shower (hopefully, daily?) feel thankful for your hot water, your nice soap or shampoo. Feel thankful for all of the other amazing things in your life (there are LOTS of amazing things in your life, find them and feel their amazingness).

Above all – if you read this, think oh, all these are a great idea and then get on that wine and sugar merry-go-round until January 1s – love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take one step at a time, one day at a time.

Smile.

We are all here together for a short time on a tiny planet spinning in space so infinite we can't comprehend it.

What's there to stress about anyway (she reminds herself daily)...?