Gift exchanges. Holiday dinners with family. Window dressings in NYC. Cocktails. More gifts. The holiday season can get insanely hectic. Going from one holiday party to another, maybe even hosting your own – it’s bound to leave us wanting to pull out our hairs. You wonder why you even agreed to all of the chaos in the first place. You wish it could all be over so you can go back to life as it was. The life you know. But once you start wishing it was all just over, you’re missing the moment. Once you start wishing the time away, you’re throwing away the most valuable thing in this life – time. There are five things you MUST do if you want to actually enjoy this holiday season. So what are the non-negotiables?
1. Breathe. Create the space and time for yourself to breathe. Set a timer for five or 10 minutes to just sit and breathe. The purpose of this exercise is to train your brain. Remove the mind chatter that sucks up so much of your brain juice. By bringing your awareness back to your breath again and again throughout the 10 minutes sounds maddening, I know. But science has found that the brains of mindfulness meditators actually look different than their counterparts. If you’re reading this thinking, I don’t have ten minutes. Then wake up 10 minutes earlier. This is a must. It will ground you. You’ll thank me for this later.
2. Move. Your body needs to move. Whether you go to the gym to exercise, or take a hike around your block, you must move in order to generate energy. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you need to generate your own energy. Stimulate your lymphatic system to flush all the junk out of your body. Unlike other muscular or cardiovascular systems, the lymphatic system has no way of “pumping” things through your body. You must move in order to stimulate it.
3. Soak. Take in 15 minutes of sun, daily. This not only has physical benefits (reducing heart disease and keeping away the flu) but also psychological benefits (reduces depression and anxiety). There are reasons why we feel a bit more blue during the winter time. Counter this by taking in more sun.
4. Moderation. Everything should be taken in moderation. This includes the amount of food you eat. Alcoholic beverages you drink. The number of parties you attend. Even the amount of time you spend with family members – you need to honor your alone time. Don’t overload your schedule, tax your body, or infringe on your me time.
5. Sleep. You lose your ability to focus and problem-solve when you’re sleep-deprived. During the holiday season when things are kicked into gear at twice the speed, you need your ability to keep your cool and respond (not react) to your environment. Best of all, on adequate amounts of sleep, you’ll actually enjoy yourself this holiday season. The human body on average sleeps in 90 minute cycles. So try and get your sleep in 90-minute increments. Your best bet is to aim for 7.5 hours. However, everyone’s different. Do what your body tells you it needs. But get your sleep.
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You need to live YOUR life. No one else can, or ever will. Don’t waste your gift. #SingularPresence