To say it’s a busy time of year would be an understatement, right? We all know the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and how quickly our calendars can fill up with parties and activities and shopping. The Christmas season always seems to fly by, but this year I want to focus on slowing down and being present. If you’re interested in doing the same, I’ve got some suggestions for you.
GET OUTSIDE INTO NATURE
Growing up in Colorado, it was surprisingly hit or miss for a white Christmas. But no matter if it was sweatshirt weather or parka weather, the mountains were there and they were calling. Getting away from the bustling city streets during this time of year can work wonders on you, I promise. There’s something so peaceful about getting away from the noise and the lights and the busy. You can find a new stillness. You can pause and take in your surroundings. And that’s even if you don’t live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. No matter where you are, there’s got to be a walking trail nearby.
SCHEDULE FREE TIME
This is so, so important. It’s really easy to fill your calendar one event at a time and before you know it, you’ve got something happening every night of the week or you might even be double-booked! Once you have a few major events on the books, block off some quiet time where you can unwind with a holiday movie or just have a quiet night at home with your family. Literally put it on your calendar so if something else comes up, you know you’re “busy” that night. You’ll likely feel less drained when you’re making the holiday rounds, but the key is absolutely JOMO. Instead of the fear of missing out, embrace the joy of missing out!
FOCUS ON MAKING MEMORIES
This year, both sides of my family have decided to forgo gift exchanges in the name of family experiences. It has made things a lot easier for us, both for time and money, since we don’t have to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas shopping for everyone on our list. But it also means getting to plan events with my mom, my stepmom, or my sisters. Our goal is to create memories that will last a life time rather than fill up our homes with more stuff.
Even if that’s not your style (which is totally cool, by the way; I love gifts too), there’s still plenty to do with your family, your significant other, or your friends where you can truly be present and celebrate the season.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
Volunteering will take you outside of your self (and maybe outside of your comfort zone) for a little while and that’s an amazing thing to experience. Find a place in town where you can volunteer a couple of hours during the holidays. Maybe sign up with some friends or your family and make a day out of it. Fill an Operation Christmas Child box to send to a child who probably won’t get anything else this Christmas. (Now you can do it online so you don’t even have to navigate a busy store.) Find a way to give back and consider those who are less fortunate that you this holiday season. It might inspire you to take some time to more fully appreciate the blessings you have at home.
Let’s start with the obvious: Disconnect from social media. Set your phone down in another room and walk away. Whether you’re just watching your favourite holiday movie or you’re at a holiday party, unplug and be present. Instagram can wait. You don’t need to live-Snap everything you’re doing. And it’s totally okay if you don’t check in on Facebook. My goal for this holiday season is to do more of that. Less sharing my life on social media and more living my life in real time.
But maybe it’s difficult for you to find the stamina to make it through the holiday season that only seems to be getting longer and longer each year. That’s totally okay and you gotta do what you gotta do! Take care of yourself, even if that means turning off the timer for the Christmas lights one evening, watching a regular movie instead of Elf for the 5th time in three weeks, or just getting away from the commercialisation of Christmas. If that’s what you need to do in order to make it to Christmas Morning, do it!