Merry, Mindful Holidays
The time between Thanksgiving and the first full week of January is typically a blur. The hustle and bustle of the holidays can lead to a downright grinchy deameanor, if we’re not careful. Usually we’re gifted with extra time off this season. But how are you honestly spending it? It truly can be the most wonderful time of the year, when we take a moment to soak up the surroundings and unplug for a minute or two. Here’s our 6 tips to thrive, not just survive heading into the final week of 2019.
1. Unplug: This may be the hardest one of all, but we challenge you to disconnect from social media for 7 days. Turn it off from now until January 2nd. No Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or anything else you spend your time mindlessly surfing the internet. Check back in on day 7 and see how you feel. Bonus points if you keep a journal during this week to really keep track of how a complete disconnect from social media helps you feel over the course of those 7 days. (Anyone else SO excited for the Rachel Hollis Start Today journals releasing on 01/01/20?!)
2. Move Your Body: Not exactly shocking advice coming from yours truly. But girl, you gotta move this week!! It doesn’t have to be a complete class. Maybe today that looks like a long walk around the neighborhood with the dog, or a 5-10 minute stretching sequence in your bedroom. But we want you to get out of your head and into your body. Remember if you’re not exactly a ‘self-starter’ when it comes to exercise, we got you. Check out our blog post last year of an at-home customizable workout. Or choose from our 12 – 30 minute workouts online at Nb TV, here. You can do these classes on the go and from anywhere without any equipment (PJs are acceptable too!).
3. Calm Your Mind: Carve out time to sit in silence for 5 minutes a day. Take a deep breathe. This time of year can be difficult – you might be walking into situations that may not bring out your ‘good side’. Taking yourself out of fight-or-flight response and into the present moment will help you rise above and not react. Here’s an exercise for you to get started:
- Grab a timer (your phone has one) and set it for 5 minutes.
- Find a comfortable, seated position either in a chair or a cushion.
- Keep your eyes open and softly focused on the floor 5 feet in front of you, or close them if you’d rather.
- Notice your body and become curious about the sensations you may feel. Start with your hands, or feet, and slowly move throughout the body.
- Now focus on your breath. Feel your breath, the breath moving in and out of your body, without trying to change it.
- Be kind to your mind. As it naturally wanders, gently direct your focus back to your breath and body sensations.
- Stay here until your timer goes off. Then ask yourself, how do you feel right now?
4. Get Outdoors: Have you ever heard of earthing or grounding? Grounding is defined as putting the body in direct and uninterrupted contact with the earth. This means that skin needs to touch soil, sand, water, or a conductive surface that is in contact with the earth. From a scientific perspective, the idea is that the earth has a mild negative charge to it. Over time, especially in modern life, our bodies build up a positive charge. Direct contact with the earth can even out this positive charge and return the body to a neutral state. If that sounds a little ‘woo’ to you, no judgement! Just get outside and take time to walk around. Notice the scenery, the sounds, the smells of all that is around you.
5. QT: Quality Time With Others: Natural introverts can become that much more recluse, or anxious about so much obtrusive family time or other social gatherings this time of year. But human connection is one of the top ways to decompress and destress. When researchers refer to the concept of “social connection,” they mean the feeling that you belong to a group and generally feel close to other people. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that this is a core psychological need essential to feeling satisfied with your life. Book a coffee date with a friend to break up all the family time. Or sit down next to the aunt or uncle that you generally avoid from across the room. Give yourself permission to simply be present in speaking, listening, and silence.
6. Read A Book: Take a break from skimming and passive internet reading and really dive into a novel. We usually get a book or two for Christmas in our stocking, or at a minimum a new cookbook. And we’re a little embarrassed to admit that some of those are still sitting on the shelf, collecting dust. What’s that book that you’ve been meaning to read for months, the one that’s been sitting on your nightstand, coffee table, bag or backpack? Open that book and begin reading.