This holiday season is the second one during a global pandemic, but perhaps this year, we will be able to spend it with relatives and friends outside of our own household. And maybe that means more preparation is needed leading up to the gatherings, and definitely more chaos during the celebrations.
Here are 5 tips for finding Zen right at home, and maintaining calm during a joyous but busy time of year. Check out the bonus tips within each tip!
- Meditate with a candle
For instantaneous relief, find a quiet corner and light a candle. Take a few deep breaths and just watch the flame for 5 minutes. Candle gazing can help you refocus (on yourself) and move you towards peace. This meditative exercise is easy to do, and you don’t have to know how to meditate to try it. I learned it from a wonderful meditation teacher. Bonus: find a natural soy wax candle with a scent that you love so that you can enjoy the moment even more.
- Turn to music
If you play an instrument, treat yourself to some new sheet music and make learning a new song your go-to stress-relief activity. Or, spend half an hour to create a new playlist on Spotify. While selecting songs, there is no other care in the world. It also requires a little time invested, so you’ll feel rewarded every time you listen to that playlist. Music has the magical quality of being uplifting or calming when you need it. Bonus: dance with your partner or sing along to activate the endorphins.
- Wash the stress away
When was the last time you soaked in a bath with a nourishing bath bomb? For centuries, bathing in hot water has been the ultimate pampering and stress-relieving activity for many. If you don’t have enough time to enjoy a long bath, take a hot shower with a shower steamer. The vapours from the steamer rise with the heat, and breathing in the essential oils will provide a much-needed physical change and mood enhancement. Bonus: turn off the lights and enjoy your bath or shower with just candle light.
- Stretch it out
Rather than following instruction or a guided video, how about just listening to your body and stretching wherever it feels good? Put on some sweat pants and roll out a mat. I always start in a sitting position on the floor with my legs spread out, and reach for my toes to give my hamstrings a nice stretch. After that, there really is no plan. Stretch big muscles and little ones that usually get ignored. Bonus: while stretching one part of the body, massage another. The fleshy parts of the hand are particularly juicy parts, but there are lots of acupressure points all over the hand, making you melt…
- Get into a flow state of mind while journaling
It’s no secret that journaling offers numerous benefits. You can spend just 5 minutes, or write as long as you want. With more time, you can get yourself into a flow state, where you lose track of the world around you, and experience pure bliss with your pen and journal. To skip the usually-frustrating step of figuring out what to write about, try these journaling prompts that I’ve put together for the month of December. These were created with the thought that you write for just 5 minutes every day, and cycle through the same prompts every week (or revisit what you wrote last week to add to them).
Sunday – “It’s the season of giving, and I’ll offer…”
Monday – “Before the year ends, I want to…”
Tuesday – “One personal I will reach out to today is…”
Wednesday – “To settle my mind, I will breathe deeply and think about…”
Thursday – “I look forward to starting this in the new year: _____ “
Friday – “I am putting this idea down on paper: _____ “
Saturday – “This winter, I will stay warm by...”
If you like these prompts, follow us, as we will be posting a new set of journal prompts for January.
As you can see, these tactics are ones you can implement right in the comfort of your home. No matter how busy you are, put your mental health first, and take a break. The happier and healthier you are, the merrier the holidays will be.