I’ve got a new holiday song for you that really captures the spirit of the 2016 holiday season. Start this song at 14 seconds and sing along for maximum resonance.
Rush, hurry, stress. Can’t get it right. Can’t eat that food. Maybe just tonight.
NO PUT IT DOWN. Cook all the things. Buy all the gifts. Then smile big.
(Chorus) I’m gonna lose it. Any second now. I’m gonna ruin it. Watch me fall flat.
STOP IT WHY NOT JUST BE F**KING JOYFUL?! LOCK IT DOWN AND PUT AWAY YOUR FEELINGS!!!
Ahhhhh, a new classic for our modern age, no?
There’s so much pressure on us this season! Along with our day-to-day duties of work or school, we have presents to buy, parties to go to, meals to cook, cards to send, etc. It’s no wonder many of my clients’ anxiety climbs around this time of year.
If you refuse to let yourself go down in flames this Christmahannukwanzadan, you’re gonna need some quick, go-to tools to keep your brain balanced so you can focus on what this season is really about: Love, Joy and Togetherness.
…that applies to yourself, too, friend.
I’ve pulled together 3 tools that take 1 minute or less that will help you stay in the spirit of the holidays without adding to your overwhelm.
No added stress. Just sweet relief that actually helps you work through sh** instead of packing it under another layer of “I’ll get to this later.”
Journaling for 1 Minute ONLY
Journaling is the most direct way to work through stressors in everyday life, but a lot of us don’t do it regularly.
I still resist journaling like WHOA. I know how good it is for me. I tell all my clients to do it regularly, but the reality is: working through sh** (instead of locking it away) still takes effort.
In order to become more consistent with my journaling practice, my therapist recommended that I journal for 1 minute ONLY to bust through the resistance I was feeling to it.
You see, many of us don’t journal because we think it’s going to take too much time, focus and energy. If you’re a perfectionist, you know what I mean. You think you have to write down ALL the thoughts and work through ALL the feels. If you don’t feel like your slate is completely clean by the end, you feel like you didn’t do it right!
Well, my fellow recovering perfectionist, let’s stick it to that voice in our head that says we have to do it that way or not at all. Let’s find a middle ground and challenge that perfectionist thinking! Here’s how:
- Set a timer for 1 minute.
- Journal for 1 minute.
- When the timer goes off, STOP. Don’t care if you want to keep going. If you really want to come back to it, wait at least 30 minutes.
The key to this exercise working for you is that you have to stop at the 1 minute mark. If you keep going, your perfectionist brain will think you can do that every time and the resistance will stay exactly as it is.
This exercise will help you vent frustrations, become aware of stressors you can take action to release and focus back in on what’s important to you. Use it daily!
Check Yo Self
Part of the reason we spend all day long harried and frantic is that we never take the time to check in with our needs and feelings. We just run around all day focusing on external needs, putting our own on the backburner in the process.
To be centered, we need to be aware of what’s going on with ourselves, and realize that our experience is our choice. To do that, all you gotta do is check yo self. Here’s how:
- Stop what you’re doing.
- Take a deep breath.
- Ask yourself: What’s present?
Answer with the following:
- Physical feelings – what’s going on in my body?
- Emotions – are my needs being met?
- Thoughts – what thoughts are serving you and which are not?
Then, ask yourself this last question:
- What can I do right now to release what doesn’t serve me and center myself in what does?
That final question is open and general for a reason. Everyone’s answers will be different!
Maybe you’ll find that you:
- need to take a walk to release pent up physical energy
- need to take a break from mall shopping because you need a nap to focus better
- are obsessively fearing that someone won’t like a gift, but that spiraling around that thought isn’t serving you at all and you realize that you can do only the best you can (and that’s enough)
Increasing awareness of your present state allows you to redirect yourself into a state you want to be in. It all comes down to this choice: what will you do with this moment?
Love Out Loud
When you’ve done the previous exercises and you’re still left without adequate holiday cheer, I’ve got one surefire way to pump that ish up: express genuine gratitude or Love.
It doesn’t take much to make someone around you or yourself feel good. If you don’t feel grateful often, I urge you with all my being to start making it a habit.
You don’t even have to write these things you love down. Just saying it out loud or taking a moment to sit in it makes it real.
We stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed people tend to rationalize away the good in our lives. We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve it or that there’s no time to focus on it because the chaos and fear need our attention more.
That rationalization is the darkness ruling you. That is the invader called Fear trying to keep you from the joy and peace you so deserve.
When we love out loud, we give a huge middle finger to the darkness. We stand up for our right to be happy.
The next time you feel grateful for someone in your life, tell them.
The next time you find yourself filled with joy and warmth, acknowledge and breathe into that place.
The next time you wake up to the fact that your life ain’t all bad, tell someone you trust what brightens your day.
With 3 minutes a day or less, you can center yourself back into what this season is all about. You always have time to come back to now. You just have to choose it.