This season can become the most stressful time of year if you’re not careful. Between the buying of gifts, wrapping of gifts, running around to holiday parties and events, traveling to see family, and more (on top of, you know, everyday life) the holiday cheer that was going strong right after Thanksgiving can wane quickly.
And yet, this season can – and should – be full of so much more than to-do lists. It should be about spending time with those you love. It should be about tradition. It should be about celebration and rest.
To help remind you to stay focused on those true elements of the holiday season, here are five ways to stay present this time of year.
1. Remember to count your blessings
Pull yourself out of your constant state of motion long enough to count your blessings, and you will certainly feel more present. Make space for gratitude by focusing on something you are grateful for each morning. Let go of comparison throughout the day and make a point to prioritize what is really important this time of year.
2. Focus on others, not yourself
Lean into tradition (or make your own!) and be sure to truly savor moments with those you care about. Find ways to experience the season together and, while you’re together, be aware of those around you and just how special that time is. Instead of thinking of your next to-do list item or worrying if your cookies turned out right, focus your attention on others. Then, tuck shared moments of laughter and joy away to remember always.
3. Disconnect from your phone
Sure, you want photos of the kids with Santa and of your family picking out your tree, but are they worth missing out on the moment? Be extra mindful about how much you’re using technology (especially social media!) during the holidays, as it can take away from this special time. You don’t want to become so immersed in which Insta filter to use that you aren’t truly present for the moment you’re posting about.
4. Block out free time
As you schedule activities for this season, be sure to leave some space in your calendar (difficult, I know!) Make it a priority to pencil in blocks of unscheduled time. This is time for you to do whatever you feel like in that moment. Relax with a bath, unwind with a good book, go grab a mani/pedi, catch up on chores or plan something impromptu with friends and family – hold yourself to that free time as though it is an obligation.
5. Keep up your exercise routine
Take time to peel yourself away from tying that twenty-ninth bow to take the dog for a hike, do some yoga or go for a run. If you have a regular exercise routine, stick with it as best you can. While you’re moving, try to really tune into what your body is doing and how it feels. Forcing yourself to connect to your body and pull away from your busy schedule will help calm you and make you more centered.
photo credit: Thought Catalog