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Keep Calm and Carry On

Let’s face it: holidays can feel like a whirlwind. Between chores like cooking and cleaning, trying to get all the shopping done, and hosting guests, feeling overwhelmed this time of year is common. This coupled with the struggle to keep up with all the children’s activities, and feeling guilty about not being able to get every gift on the list can cause the holiday blues.  

 

The easiest way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to make time for yourself to regroup and recharge. It can be difficult to put ourselves first with so much to do, but sometimes even taking five minutes out of your day for yourself can keep you refreshed. Five minutes of quieting your mind, of prioritizing yourself, can make a big difference in your ability to handle difficult or stressful moments with family.

 

Even if you end up in a house full of feuding relatives, find a moment to step into the backyard, the garage, even the closet if it comes to that. Take those precious five minutes, plant both feet firmly on the ground, and pay attention to your breathing. Count your breaths if you are having trouble concentrating. How does your breath feel? Do you breathe in through your nose or mouth? Use visualization; imagine a butterfly flying gracefully from flower to flower in a garden. No matter the challenge: You can ride this out. You’ve got this. Your feet are still on the ground. Breathe.

 

If you’re concerned you’ll lose track of time, set your phone alarm so you can have a full five minutes to meditate and breathe. If you’re concerned that you’ll be missed or the ‘show can’t go on’ without you, remember you are no good to anyone if you are depleted. Once your alarm goes off, take ten more seconds and imagine a great memory with your family. Did you spend the day at the beach, or at a block party? Did someone cut up in the soul train line? Did you ride a roller coaster or play cards? Hold onto that memory throughout the day. It’s a great way to keep you calm and remind you to be kind to your family, even when they get on your last nerve.  Remember--they’re your family, and although some of your memories of them may be unpleasant, there are good ones too. You can love them despite the fact that they drive you crazy.

 
The holidays will be over soon, but you are equipped to handle them! Remember to be kind to yourself, breathe, and hold on to happy memories when you feel stressed out. There’s a lot to take care of during the this time of year, but you can’t take care of anything if you don’t take care of you first. Happy holidays!