The holiday season is both a time of celebration and, for many of us, significant stress.
With meals to prepare, presents to buy, and family dynamics to navigate, the holidays can find you caught in a balance between focusing on what matters most and checking off that lengthy to-do list. It’s not only unpleasant to feel stressed during an otherwise joyful time, but an overload of stress can also negatively impact your health.
This year, consider leaning into the timeless maxim: the best way to speed up is to slow down. If getting everything done is causing you to show up at your family dinner feeling burned out and resentful, then perhaps taking some time for yourself will give you the breathing room to really enjoy the holidays.
Here are three ways to help yourself slow down the festive season and tune into what is most important.
1. Practice Being Intentional
Practicing intentionality is about embracing the pause between awareness and action. It’s the moment when your mother-in-law suggests shifting the brunch plan for the third time in a row. Will shifting the brunch time work for you? Does shifting it mean you might miss out on family downtime you were planning to have beforehand?
Take a deep breath and get intentional about your response, rather than just reacting with the first thing that comes to mind. This will help you make a decision more aligned with your needs and plan how you want to communicate your answer.
The main thing to remember about intentionality is that it is a practice. Like with any practice, you’re not aiming for perfection, but for a continual development and fine tuning of your skills. This holiday season, you will have many chances to practice the skill of intentionality — every time someone suggests a schedule change or invites you to yet another dinner event. In order to stay present, keep returning to your intention to slow down.
2. Go Tech Free
One way to revive the magic of your own childhood holidays is to unplug most — if not all — of your devices. Modern technology helps us stay connected to loved ones far away, but sometimes at the cost of connecting with the people right in front of us.
To help the whole family slow down, consider implementing tech-free mornings, afternoons, or even whole days to help everyone be fully present with one other. Choose activities that allow you to spend time together like playing board games, getting outside for a walk, or reading a funny book together.
Not only will this time together help everyone to relax, but these are the holiday memories that will last a lifetime.
3. Try Intuitive Eating
Most of us push through the rush of the holidays fueled by sugary drinks such as coffee, eggnog, and cocktails, as well as heavy meals with all the fixings.
Consider practicing more intuitive ways of eating this holiday season. Intuitive eating is about listening to our body’s natural hunger and fullness signals — it means eating when we’re hungry and stopping when we feel almost full. You can also prepare healthy alternatives of holiday favorites, so that you can eat what your body really needs, instead of over-indulging in rich dishes.
By taking the time to tune into your body during holiday meals, you are more likely to notice when you’re tired and when you feel energized. These observations will allow you to slow down when you need to, by canceling or adjusting any plans as necessary.
The holiday season is a time to recharge your batteries and reconnect with the ones you love. By choosing your activities and meals based on quality over quantity, you’ll be able to treasure the season instead of rushing through it, and wondering where the time went.
Contact Tri-City Medical Center Wellness Center today and speak to our friendly staff about other lifestyle changes you can make to feel healthy and relaxed over the holidays.