Things get a little crazy around the holidays right?
Shopping, cooking and family gatherings.
Which means mucho crunch time aka STRESS-FEST!
You stress about the things you can’t control.
And the things you can control.
And the things you haven’t imagined yet.
And every freakin worst-case scenario out there.
I know I’m not the only mama out there who feels like this because when I ask my mamas in my ModZen Mama community, holiday time always stirs some sort of stress.
Here is the double-edged sword with stress.
All we want during the holidays is to have fun with our loved ones, laugh and make special memories.
But feeling stressed prevents you from sharing beautiful moments with your family.
You see, stress is the body's natural response to external cues and inner thoughts and feelings that trigger fear.
It's how you react to a perceived danger - the "fight or flight" response, that causes anxiety, panic, overwhelm.
When we get consumed with thoughts like “I don’t have enough time.”
Prepare ourselves for that rude comment our mother is probably going to make about our weight gain or any other perceived threat, we disconnect from the present moment and lose connection with those in front of us.
So this holiday season, it’s my greatest desire you are less stressed and fully present with your loved ones.
I’m going to give you three of my favorite tools to help you slow down, get your stuff done but also stay present.
Step 1: Focus on “Real life”
It’s so easy to live in our imaginary life aka the projections of our mind, the feelings, fears and thoughts that affect us.
Anytime you feel stressed, bring your full awareness to your real life. The thing thats right in front of you.
Focus on the task on hand by bringing your eye focus to one specific thing and let your vision expand up and down and side to side. If you want to learn a simple tool to practice this, which will help you get out of your mind and get present in 30 secs of less click here.
Step 2: Stop at Random Moments
Through the day, ask yourself if you’re rushing, going to fast or stuck in your head? If you are going to fast, return to the task wither it’s cooking, talking, or shopping more slowly.
Pause. Reset and Proceed.
To help me remember I’ll practice putting alarms on my phone before family gatherings so it become more automatic to stop and check in.
Step 3: Take a Bathroom Break
Anytime you feel yourself getting irritated or annoyed, excuse yourself to the bathroom to get some space.
This isn’t avoidance. This is CHOOSING not to participate in a conversation that doesn’t serve the highest good of all involved.
By you losing your cool, you put a negative vibe. I like to be responsible for the energy and thoughts I put out but that means I need breaks from challenging family members and tough conversations.
I like to take some deep breaths to get grounded, splash some cold water on my face, hands and wrists to stop my stress response and then go back to the gathering when I’m calmer.
Bonus points if you get a chance to step outside for some fresh air to get grounded. Many times I’ll leave something in the car on purpose, in case I need a little space from the craziness.
Setting firm boundaries and respecting our feelings when we feel stressed is crucial to better handling our response to stress.
There you have it 3 simple and easy ways to stress less and enjoy the holidays more mindfully.
Tejal V Patel, J.D is a former divorce attorney turned mindfulness advocate for moms and c