We talk a lot about what stress looks like. Many of our worries during stressful times take us to the future. “I have to shop, wrap gifts, bake cookies, clean the house…” With all the distractions come opportunities to tune out instead of tune in. Before we know it, a running list of “to do’s” has taken hold of us, leading us to be distracted from our everyday life. It can help to stop and take the time to look at ways in which we can reduce our stress and reconnect with life.
Here are a few ways to connect with the here and now during this holiday season.
Be grateful. Be present.
The holidays can be magical and a time to purposefully reconnect with family and friends. Remind yourself of those in your life that you are grateful for. Make the time to reach out to them. Be intentional about talking to them rather than solely focusing on the to-do’s. Combat the commercial frenzy of having to give the best (maybe even the most expensive) gift and give words or acts of appreciation.
Practice letting go. If you choose to let something go and not do something, notice how it feels to give yourself permission to release some responsibility. Take a break. Slow down. Spend time with your family by playing games with them or having quiet time with them. You might even kick your feet up and drink some cocoa.
Be with your breath.
Remember to take care of yourself. Spend a few minutes each day practicing deep breathing. Connecting with your breath doesn’t have to take long, but if you practice this several times throughout your day it can help you focus on what is right in front of you.
When you start implementing these practices for a few minutes each day, they will be more and more rewarding and become natural. Take a few minutes throughout each day to focus on these points to start reconnecting with your life.
Sara Kuehler, MA
Licensed Professional Counselor