The holiday season, while filled with joy and celebration, can also be a source of stress and anxiety for many. The pressure to create the perfect holiday experience, coupled with family gatherings and increased responsibilities, can leave us feeling overwhelmed. But fear not! In this article, we will explore three spiritual practices that can help you find inner peace as well as 4 steps to take to reduce stress during the holidays. Let's dive in!
Finding Calm Amidst the Holiday Chaos
To reduce holiday stress, here are 4 stress reducing steps we recommend:
1. Take a Day Off
Give yourself a break by taking a complete day off from your usual obligations and electronic devices. Disconnect from work, your phone, and your computer. Spend this day doing things you enjoy, such as taking a walk in nature, staying in bed, watching movies, or reading a book. The goal is to free yourself from obligations and be a "human being" rather than a "human doing.”
2. Get Perspective
Step back from your daily life to gain a broader perspective. Sometimes, we get too caught up in the details and lose sight of what truly matters. Find a place where you can see the bigger picture, such as a high vantage point, and reflect on your priorities. Consider what is genuinely important to you and whether your daily activities align with those priorities.
3. Treat Your Body
Take care of your physical well-being. Give your body a break by getting a massage, visiting a hot tub or sauna, trying acupuncture, going for a swim, or simply taking a walk or doing some stretching exercises. Show appreciation for your body, which supports you every day, by providing it with relaxation and pleasure.
4. Talk It Out or Write It Out
Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust, such as a friend, therapist, counselor, or pastoral counselor. Discussing your stressors can help you release tension and gain insights into managing them. If you don't have someone to talk to, consider writing in a journal. Writing can help you unpack your stress and develop strategies for reducing it.
3 Spiritual Practices For Holiday Stress
Embracing mindfulness is a powerful way to stay grounded during the holiday frenzy. The practice of mindfulness involves staying present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. During the holiday season, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of preparations and expectations. Mindfulness helps you step back, take a breath, and appreciate the beauty of the present moment.
To incorporate mindfulness into your holiday routine, consider daily meditation sessions, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your surroundings. Here is a relaxing meditative practice for the upcoming busy holidays. The holidays can be stressful with shopping and returns, but this meditation will help you de-stress and find balance!
Close your eyes or lower your gaze and take a moment to focus on your breathing. Inhale positivity and exhale stress.
Now, let's express gratitude to different parts of our body for the work they do. Start from your feet and work your way up, breathing in positivity and breathing out negativity.
Next, visualize what truly matters to you during the holidays. What do you value the most? Focus on those positive aspects and let go of expectations and obligations.
If any worries or concerns come to mind, acknowledge them and let them go, returning your focus to what matters most to you.
Finally, bring your awareness back to your breathing. Inhale for a count of four and exhale for more than four, letting go of tension with each exhale.
When you're ready, open your eyes. Carry this mindset of gratitude and focus on what truly matters with you throughout the holiday season.
Gratitude journaling can help decrease holiday stress by shifting your focus from what's lacking in your life to appreciating the joy and positivity that already exists. It can improve your quality of sleep, help you form healthy habits, reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and enhance your overall well-being.
To start a gratitude journal during the holidays, follow these steps:
- Choose a journal that you find aesthetically pleasing and keep it in a visible place, like your desk or bedside table.
- Select three days a week to write in your journal. Research has shown that writing just three times a week is effective.
- Mark these journaling days on your calendar to hold yourself accountable.
- Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can be present and focused. You can create a ritual, such as enjoying a cup of tea, to enhance the experience.
- In your journal, write down the date and list five things you're grateful for. However, don't just list them; also include the reasons why you're grateful for each of them. For example, instead of writing "I'm grateful for my dog," be specific like "I'm grateful for my dog because she greets me when I come home, making me feel like I matter."
- As you write, focus on feeling the emotions that come with each gratitude entry. This allows you to savor the positive aspects of your life and turn them into meaningful experiences.
By following these steps, you can establish a gratitude journaling practice that is both effective and sustainable, helping you reduce stress and find more joy during the holiday season.
Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature can decrease holiday stress by providing a calming and grounding experience. Nature has a soothing effect on the mind and body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Here are some ways in which connecting with nature can decrease holiday stress!
Incorporating natural elements like wood, leaves, and other organic materials into holiday decorations can create a sense of connection with the natural world. These elements can evoke feelings of calm and relaxation, counteracting the stress associated with the holiday season.
Including air plants in your holiday decor not only adds a touch of greenery but also promotes a sense of well-being. These low-maintenance plants are visually appealing and can improve indoor air quality, contributing to a healthier and more relaxed atmosphere.
Engaging in activities like crafting with natural materials, such as creating a centerpiece with wood and leaves, allows individuals to practice mindfulness and be present in the moment. This can help alleviate stress by shifting focus away from holiday pressures.
Connection to Season
Using natural elements like leaves and wood aligns with the seasonal changes, helping people feel more connected to the time of year. This connection can foster a sense of peace and relaxation, counterbalancing holiday stress.
Incorporating elements of nature into your holiday celebrations can create a calming and stress-reducing atmosphere, fostering a deeper connection with the season and promoting relaxation during this potentially stressful time.
The holiday season should be a time of joy and togetherness, not stress and anxiety. By incorporating these three spiritual practices – mindfulness, gratitude journaling, and connecting with nature – into your holiday routine, you can find inner peace and reduce stress. Remember to release unrealistic expectations, stay physically active, and seek support when needed. With these practices in your toolkit, you can truly enjoy the upcoming holidays with a sense of calm and positivity.
Q: Is it normal to feel stressed during the holiday season?
A: Yes, it's normal to feel stressed during the holiday season due to increased responsibilities and expectations. However, implementing stress-relief practices can make a significant difference in how you experience the holidays.
Q: What should I do if I feel overwhelmed by holiday preparations?
A: If you feel overwhelmed by holiday preparations, consider seeking support from friends or support groups. Additionally, practicing mindfulness and releasing unrealistic expectations can help ease your stress.
Q: What are some simple ways to practice gratitude during the holidays?
A: Simple ways to practice gratitude during the holidays include keeping a gratitude journal, expressing thanks to loved ones, and reflecting on the positive aspects of your life.