De-stress yourself

10 December 2012

December means holidays. Even if you personally do not celebrate, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to say “no” graciously many times. Well, unless you are a long-time Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame and no one speaks to you anymore.

What tools, rituals, traditions, or habits do you practice to relax your shoulders when you feel them tense? To relieve that pressure of anger or angst you when go through that one thing again this year? To reach a place of joy, or at least calm, day to day?

Use these tips to help you sail through the holidays on a sea of joy.

• Give up perfectionism. I often say “Pursuing perfection is foolish as it is unattainable.” Especially around holidays we want everything just so. It rarely, if ever, is. Enjoy the moments as they come, even if the main dish crashes to the floor or the dessert tastes weird or Mom’s signature dish doesn’t taste like she made it, half the tree lights are not working, the cat rips the wrapped presents, or your favorite holiday garb is stained and you don’t know until you arrive at the event.
• Create new patterns of behavior when the old ones don’t serve you.
• Lift your spirits and your energy level by practicing the three happy habits daily.
• Get a massage. A financial pinch at the moment? Then ask a friend to give you a minute or two of a shoulder massage. Give them instructions on how to do it for you. “To the left. Harder. Ouch! Softer! Oh, right there.” If they are willing to give you a shoulder rub, then help them give the best one ever by telling them what you want. Then, thank them profusely. Offer to return the favor.
• Find someone to laugh with. Face-to-face, on the phone, online, watch a movie that you know always makes you laugh.
• Go for a walk in a place that pleases you, march in place for two minutes. Raise your heart rate some how for a minute or two.
• Sit quietly for a minute, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, imagine your favorite happy place and enjoy being in it.

One thing I do not do so that I don’t get all crazed is I don’t decorate much at Christmas. I love Christmas and what it means, Christmas trees and seeing how others do them. I enjoy driving around to see what other people do to decorate outside. Beautiful. Wonderful. Still, I know it is a lot of work and I don’t enjoy that part. When my grown daughter is home for Christmas, if she wants a tree I wait til she gets here so that we shop for it together, get out of the adornments together, decorate everything together. This year I’ll put out a bowl of ornaments and decorate my fireplace mantel. That feels good to me, so I am doing that in the next week or so.

Be proactive in what you can do, or not do, to enjoy December more than you ever have before.