Holiday Relief

Put down your to-do list so you can get down to what you'd really like to do: inject some joy back into the holiday season. 

Illustration by Gavin Potenza

It’s time to rest up for the holidays.

We are often so busy at this time of year that we can’t do what we’d really like to do: appreciate one another, give thanks, celebrate. Instead, we’ve got a long to-do list, our usual routines are disrupted, and we get less sleep than usual.

It’s a perfect recipe for boosted stress levels. So here are three suggestions to help keep you on an even keel over the holidays:

1. For five minutes, four times a day, stop briefly. It’s a simple way to practice just being instead of doing (or buying). Bring your attention to your own breath and body in the moment, just as they are. And no need to think about your to-do list—guaranteed, it will be there when you’re done.

2. Try passing on a few invitations this year. And don’t be shy about ducking out of parties early. You might be surprised at the extra time you’ll find for yourself, not to mention feeling like you’re securely in the driver’s seat of your own life.

3. Spread compassion around liberally this season (and all other times of the year), but direct a bit of that holiday spirit your own way, too. Especially if you overcook the turkey or don’t get someone the “perfect” gift.

This article also appeared in the December 2013 issue of Mindful magazine.