Many of you know that my dad passed away this year. I have to count on 3 hands my friends who are also celebrating their first holidays with one fewer parent. It isn’t easy, this “Year of Firsts”. As we move through December, I know I will need to find some time to step away from the myriad of activities and stress that comes with the holiday season.
Even in a normal year, the end of year pressures can be great. Here are 6 easy ideas to try for a 30-60 minute inexpensive escape.
- Spend an hour alone in a coffee shop, with NO electronic media unless you need music to distract from other patrons. Write, read, stare out the window.
- Go for a winter walk.
- Practice yoga. According to The Mayo Clinic, yoga helps to relieve stress, find focus, and improve flexibility. Ironically, I just got an offer today to sign up for a free 21-day session on Wanderlust, starting in January. Feel free to join up, if you want to start a yoga practice at home.
- If you only have 5-10 minutes to spare, meditation offers many similar benefits. If you think you can’t meditate, all the more reason you should try it. (I was one of those people; I can’t sit still!) Simply sit or lay quietly, close your eyes, hands facing up to accept more energy from around you. TRY to clear your mind, but if a thought wanders in, accept it and let it flow on. Start to breathe deeper—to your belly and collar bones. A really informative post about the benefits of meditation can be found on the Live and Dare website.
- Pay it forward. Whether you work with an organization or do a simple gesture to a stranger, your spirit will soar.
- Dance party–turn up your music to your favorite song and move those feet! Or just sing along. If you are by yourself, no one will ever know if you have no rhythm or sing off-key.
You are not alone in stress or loss this year. Know that it is okay to say NO to attending events. Every party, gathering, obligation does not require a yes response. Not overloading is the key to enjoying the next 30 days.
P.S. Dogs encourage you to go out and walk all year round. There are many of shelter dogs and organizations willing to help match you with your perfect Furrever friend this holiday season.