It seems that marking the days until Christmas has become more of a hurried frenzy than an advent affair. Cold days and snowy conditions can often lead to negative outlooks, while shopping lines and driving traffic makes preparing for festivities more stressful than enjoyable. In a time of year that should allow for peace, gratitude and reflection, we find ourselves spread as thin as sheets of delicate ice, with the danger of cracking open at any moment.
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It takes an abundance of energy to be present for all the occasions of the season, and sometimes the added strain means more anxiety and less ease. Although it can be a challenge to maintain a state of balance, especially over the holidays, the rewards for creating personal harmony amidst outward chaos will be worth the sanity.
Make the most of your time and energy to give yourself as much love and patience as you are giving the world around you. Just because your week is full of obligations surrounding your family, friends and work, it doesn’t mean you can’t tuck away some time to dedicate to your own fulfillment.
It’s not an easy task, and it may seem hardly plausible to fit on your long list of to-dos. When exactly are you going to find time to make yourself nutritious food, engage in physical exercise and mental stimulation, spend time with the people you love, while trying to shuffle work meetings, gatherings, appointments and errands?
Now think about the time that you do have, as well as the time you may be taking for granted. It may not be “free” time, but if it is time that grants you room to seek clarity, it leaves opportunity to find enrichment. Precious moments can be found within your daily routine—in the simplicity that fills empty spaces.
Sometimes all you have to do is take a moment and use your senses. Inhale the rich aroma from fresh ground coffee as cuts through crisp morning air; take a moment to stand and watch the snow as it sparkles on a moonlit walk; listen to a raging fire as it breathes and bellows in a cozy room.
Finding time for yourself is not something that should overwhelm you. You can fit in personal wellness, growth and contentment every day, as long as you choose to make yourself a priority. Giving to others begins by giving to yourself.
Personal wellness and happiness should be at the top of your lists this holiday season. This doesn’t mean you always have to put yourself first, but you should at least give yourself consistent compassion and consideration. Start to take notice to some of the moments in your day that give you breathing room—early mornings, travels to work, lunch hours, afternoon breaks, evening walks. Use these moments to regain clarity and balance in your day.
If you find that you can’t get away from the stress, ask yourself why you feel trapped beneath it. You may be taking on unnecessary pressures or getting caught up in too many obligations.
If you begin to feel overwhelmed, take a step back and become clear on your priorities. It’s ok if you have to turn down some invitations or even get away for a few days. If you can’t be fully present in every event or situation, it may be better to decline than to just make a half-hearted appearance.
You have more to give this season than wrapped goods and festive toasts. Never underestimate the impact you can make by offering your love to others as a strong and whole individual. Allow yourself the time and space to empower yourself and others. Give yourself gifts to nurture your soul.
This doesn’t mean buying yourself unnecessary gifts or overindulging in holiday fare—empty actions that generally result in feelings of guilt and remorse. It means giving yourself the gift of enjoying simple and guilt-free pleasures, to really relish in the moments of contentment in your life—slipping into sheepskin moccasins after a day on your feet, going phone and Internet free for an afternoon or whole day, watching snow lightly fall outside, taking a long afternoon nap by the fire after a morning out in the brisk air.
You must first acknowledge that you deserve your own attention, and your personal well being needs to be a priority every day. You can bring light to the darkest days of the year by grounding yourself in simple pleasures, and letting your light shine on others that may need a little extra illumination.