Beverly Hosford by Beverly Hosford

Imagine yourself walking across a snowy river bridge and on the other side, there are two paths. One leads you into 2022 frazzled and sleep-deprived as if you paddled upstream through icy water. The other delivers you rejuvenated and ready, like a boat coasting downstream, as you watch deer and rabbits along the shoreline. The choice is yours and what follows will guide you forward.

The holiday season is in full swing and we are experiencing the shortest days of the year. Turning up the lights and volume on celebrations help to dampen the darkness and the heartache of social distancing, but there is a cost that comes with too much stimulation and excitement. So, let’s take a cue from mother nature and recognize that the winter season should be considered a time of rest.

Of course, it can be tricky to slow down, release family expectations and do things differently. Giving yourself the gift of rest and relaxation over the holidays doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun. You simply have to make a plan and reserve time for yourself and what truly illuminates your spirit.

If cozying up by a fire, extra sleep and reading a book for leisure sounds inviting, your body probably needs it. If sitting still is intimidating, remember that rest can also be active. Playing the piano, doing a jig-saw puzzle, dancing and painting can all play a part in your plan of restoration. Being intentional about how you spend the holidays will pay off in the new year, supplying you with more energy to stay engaged and active in your life.

Ten Minutes for YOU

The following two writing prompts were designed to help you identify ways to find balance this holiday season. Get a piece of paper, a colorful marker or your favorite pen. Set a five-minute timer for each prompt, close your eyes before you begin and see what emerges from your heart.

Prompt #1 - What is stressful for you about the holidays?

Imagine past holidays for a moment and think about the things that tended to stress you out. Maybe it’s the way Aunt Susie dumped her problems all over you, or perhaps it’s the pressure of trying to cook an award-winning meal. Does attending big parties cause tension or facilitate connection? Maybe staying up too late on New Year’s Eve or being hungover didn't feel like a choice you want to repeat. What wore you out, overwhelmed and exhausted you about last year's festivities? Dump it all out on the paper right now.

Prompt #2 - What relaxes you?

Rest looks and feels differently to each of us. Close your eyes and imagine activities that make your body feel calm and open. What do you daydream about when you’re in the midst of a long, busy week? If you had a week off, what would you do with it?

Tune in to the sensations that arise in your body when you imagine yourself reading a gripping novel, singing songs with your kids, in an upside-down yoga pose or walking outside in crisp fresh air. Even sprinkles of enjoyment make a big difference in the day. Relaxation doesn't need to be extravagant; it just has to happen consistently, even in small doses.

Gifting yourself 10 minutes to better understand how you feel and what you want can help you unwrap a happier holiday for you and your loved ones. When you care for yourself, there is more to give to others.

Opening to Holiday Harmony

Now, create a fresh holiday recipe by eliminating some of the stressful stuff and making time for the relaxing activities you wrote down, and bring more nourishment in as an exchange for just going with the usual traditions and habits.

Help people lead happier, healthier lives as an ACE Certified Health Coach