Ah, December is really here, ripe with the joy of giving but also emotionally draining with added responsibilities, expectations and attachments to how things ‘should’ or ‘need’ to be at holiday time.
If all the moving parts and pieces of your doing and fast paced going are feeling burdensome, take the pressure off and try these 5 helpful actions to reduce stress. Let them be reminders to stay light and vital.
Let go of perfection
Invite a helping hand
Greet everyone with a smile
Dedicate 3-10 minutes or more, every single morning, the moment you rise, to center and ground yourself in a practice that resonates for you. Some examples may include:
*Mindful morning with your tea or coffee while gazing out the window at your favorite tree
* Write down a few intentions for your day. Not a to-do list, an intentions list. How you want to show up, what do you want to cultivate throughout your day.
*Write down 3-5 non-material things you’re gratitude for
*’I am enough’ one minute breath & affirmation practice saying in your mind: “I am” (inhale) “Enough” (exhale)
Whatever you choose, make it the first thing you do upon waking. Don’t go on your phone or read the paper-you have the rest of the day to lean out into the world-start your day reflecting on you first. The grounding, calming benefits will be immediately felt and can ripple out into the rest of your day.
LET go of Perfection
Does everything really need to get done today/this week/this month? What if the holiday card doesn’t go out, or the decorations don’t look perfect? Perfection shows up in all sorts of peculiar ways, and often we don’t even notice that that’s what’s at play because we’re just doing it the way it’s always been done. But isn’t perfection mostly driven by something outside ourselves, like an obligation, expectation (yours or other people’s), the ‘shoulds’ we’ve allowed to steer some of our choices? Notice if you recognize when and where perfection shows up for you and ask if it’s serving you in that moment. You may have the best intentions for getting that gift in the mail tomorrow or decorating your house or baking those cookies everyone’s come to expect, but guess what? You are still enough, beautifully and imperfectly so, whether some or none of these things get done the way you hoped. To fully enjoy this season of giving and receiving, we may need to let go some of our expectations and come down from the perfection pedestal so we allow the joy for what we’re doing in.
INVITE a helping hand
This one is simple, yet profoundly difficult for many of us. Asking for help. Sometimes the busier we get, harder is it to ask for help because we can’t slow down long enough to think about what areas we even need help in, right? Here’s your invitation to take the time to notice where you could use a hand and call a friend, ask your kids, partner, neighbor for what it is you need today. No time to walk the dog? run that errand across town? pick up the kids? Tap into your rich pool or resources and ask for help. I know I’m always so grateful when I can help out a friend.
GREET everyone with a smile. Especially during these darker, wetter days, a smile goes a long way for both you, and the person receiving. And who cares if you look like smiling fool in the rain? It’ll make you and others feel good because it connects us to our shared human experience. Everyone you encounter appreciates a smile, even if they don’t quite know how to react at first. A simple smile is especially meaningful this time of year when many folks feel stressed out, lonely, anxious, worried and depleted. It’s free and its effects ripple out, shifting perspectives for the better.
NON ATTACHMENT is a foundational yoga teaching called Vairgya and shows up again and again in our daily lives both on and off the yoga mat. The key is reminding ourselves that all things are constantly shifting and changing, so as not to get too attached to any one thing, or way of being or doing or thinking. December is the perfect time to hone in on Vairgya. Desiring material possessions, sure, that’s totally normal but being indifferent toward them is the non attachment piece. Because as we know all things are fleeting and nothing’s permanent.
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received-only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” -Francis of Assisi
Give yourself permission to give more meaningful gifts that come from labors of love and care, or thoughtful gifts that you and your friends and family can all feel as opposed to possess.
Thanks so very much for being here and I always appreciate your comments and shares.