Tis the season of holiday gatherings and celebrations which include fun times with family and friends, but can often bring with it more hectic work schedules, longer to-do lists, and a default to putting yourself last. Am I right, or am I right?! But have no fear, there is something you can do about this. In the same way you schedule meetings and gatherings with friends, put on your calendar those things you want to do for yourself to keep them fresh in your mind. Your future self will thank you.
Here are a few suggestions of ways you can de-stress, focus on yourself, and find more joy. Most are completely free. Pick one and try it for a week to see what you notice!
Start a gratitude practice: When life is full of to-do’s, it can feel overwhelming and never ending. A simple practice to refocus and find more joy is to take some time to look for what you appreciate that is happening within and around you. No gratitude is too big or small to note. Record everything from the liking the flavor of your toothpaste and hitting all the green lights on the way to work, to spending a fun evening with great friends or receiving a promotion at work. Start with writing down 3 – 5 appreciations a day. You can either start or finish your day with an inventory. Try it for a week and see what happens.
Dress Up Your Daily Environments: I’ve noticed that when I surround my daily environment with things that make me feel good like a candle that smells delicious, fresh flowers, or drinking out of a coffee mug that I love, my whole vibe changes. I feel more relaxed, more light and playful and when I lose it, I can take a moment to breathe and observe what I enjoy around me.
Breathe: One of the most simple and underrated forms of self-care is remembering to breathe throughout the day. This can be as simple as consciously taking 3 – 5 inhales and exhales, to setting a 5 minute timer to pay attention to your breathe. When we are living stressed and accelerated we might forget to exhale, the breathe shortens, and we can feel an overall sense of contraction. Set a timer to go off during the day specifically with the intention of checking in on your breathe for a week and see what you notice.
Dance breaks: If there is one thing that can break a cycle of stress and heaviness, its lightness and play and I know nothing better than turning on a song I love and dancing it out. If you are shy, find a closed space where you can lock the door and rock out. If you feel like you’d prefer to share the love, have those you are with join you for a group session.
Commit to Daily Touch: We live in a fast paced, technology driven world where we often forget about the importance of personal interaction and touch. Cuddling and hugs can be magical for taking us out of our heads and connecting with the present. This can be done in the form of asking for a hug or finding a cuddle buddy, to giving yourself a foot massage or finding someone to do it for you.