Taking care of (holiday) business … and yourself!

Every holiday I tell myself I’m going to slow down!  And every year I find myself rushing from one place to another and not taking in the season itself.  It seems these days, that being busy is an honor and when I ask others “how are you”, inevitably the answer is “I’m so busy!”

Unfortunately, always being busy is not healthy.  Stress is a silent killer.  It takes more of a toll on your body than you realize.  This year, slow down!  In fact, not just this holiday season, but everyday, take some time to relax, take a breath and enjoy life a little more.

I realize that we do have busy times and that life happens.  But in-between those times, consider some self care – everyday!

Self care does not have to be an hour meditation!  But in fact 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there can actually increase your productivity.  Just do something for yourself everyday.

When you have 5 minutes:

 Role on an essential oil.

Grab your  Lavender or Beautiful Touch Captivating Blend or Magnolia Touch. Take a moment before you dash to that next task. Breathe in. Relax. Enjoy these uplifting aromas.  Breathing deeply, especially with an essential oil can do wonders and shift you into that non-stressed state.

Give and get a hug.

Seriously, hugs have many benefits. Reduced stress. Reduced pain. Better communication. Find out more: https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#3

Hug and breathe in.

TIME released a fascinating short article on the power of smelling a lover’s shirt to decrease stress. Who knew the smell of your loved one can help you relax? So, grab a hug before you run out the door.

When you have 15 minutes:

Watch something funny.

Maybe you’ll like a video from America’s Funniest Home Videos or Dry Bar Comedy on YouTube.  (In 1996, Psychology Today was already sharing the benefits of humor.)

Move your body.

Sometimes you need kinesthetic input to relax. There’s countless studies for exercise and stress management. But does just 10 to 15 minutes make a difference? Yes! Forbes published Short Bursts Of Exercise May Be As Beneficial As Regular Workouts In Extending Life this year. The point: be intentional and move throughout the day.

When you have a weekly plan:

Slow down the go-go patterns in your life. This December carve out at least 30 minutes each week—for you! Maybe you’d rather do 15 minutes two times a week or every day, like a 31-day gift for yourself. Either way, use this list to help you make smart relaxing choices. They just might grow into healthy habits.

  • Dry brushing your skin before and/or after showering. I love this option, and I make a point of sitting down and dry brushing often. Wellness Mama walks through the benefits and how-dos. But frankly, no matter the reasons, I find it relaxing, and you might, too.
  • Take care of your feet: take a foot bath, paint your nails, use a pumice.
  • Give yourself a foot massage. Use essential oils and a favorite oil and rub your feet for five minutes.
  • Consider trying Form rollers on tight muscles. (TigerTail has some useful information about tight muscles: https://www.tigertailusa.com/muscle-education/)
  • Sign up for a full-body massage or acupuncture appointment with a certified professional.
  • Take an epsom salt bath with essential oils.
  • Listen to a chapter on an audio book. This is a flexible option. Go on a walk and listen. Take that bath and listen. You can try something serious or lighthearted or adventurous.
  • Listen to music. It is Christmastime; try the classics or go to a concert.
  • Dance to music.
  • Dance, listen to music, and clean the house. It makes it more fun.
  • Find or use a favorite lotion and give yourself a mini massage. I’m a fan of adding essential oil to my unscented lotion.
  • Take a walk. During December, you can find seasonal outings, such as ZooLights and Peacock Lane in Portland.
  • Stretch and do yoga. I often tell my family that I’m off to do yoga for a few minutes—and that I’m not available. Well, the hubby might occasionally meander in too early and make a silly comment, but it is worth trying to set aside that time for my mental and physical well-being.
  • Do chair yoga or stretching if regular yoga is too difficult.  Yoga is for everyone. Need inspiration? Check out DailyOM’s chair yoga information. (SilverSneakers also has great options for older adults, if you’re looking to join a class that incorporates chair stretching/yoga.)
  • Take a news break. I think most of us know that constant news is not healthy. Well, a 2015 study found that “Increased frequency of viewing newscasts was associated with reported anxiety reflected in uncontrolled fear, physiological hyperarousal, sleeping difficulties, and fearful thoughts.” Wow. Make sure to disconnect!

Try these ideas to help you slow down. Give yourself room to relax and think. You might find that you’ll need to cut something from your schedule, and that is OK. This time of year should be “quality holiday” not “quantity holiday.” Enjoy your Christmas and holiday season!

Enjoy life more!