Life is crazy…busy. How many times have you asked a colleague or friend how they’re doing and they respond with something along the lines of, “Great, I’ve been crazy busy,” or “Good, just so busy!” And if this is the normal response for the rest of the year, consider how thinly stretched we all become during the hectic holiday season. There are presents to buy, stockings to stuff, parties to attend, meals to prepare, cards to write…. AH! It’s easy to forget what the holiday season is really about: Sharing and connecting with our loved ones, communities, and appreciating our own short, miraculous lives on this incredible planet in the middle of an expansive and unknown universe.
The hysteria we experience is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we fall into and often become unaware of, unintentionally feeding a cycle of disconnection with ourselves and life around us. But guess what? You’re not stuck in this cycle. You can intentionally choose to slow down, take a deep breath and restructure your awareness. The holiday season, by its very nature, is the perfect time to embody the spirit of sharing, love, kindness and balance.
Start by slowing down and be where you are now. When you’re busy and stressed out, it’s hard to be your best self. And don’t think others don’t notice when you’re tapping on your iPhone and checking your calendar while they’re telling you about their new baby or job. Before you can help others, help yourself! Try incorporating daily breathing exercises or simple yoga and stretching moves throughout your day. Start your morning by sitting down with your tea or coffee and take a moment for yourself before the day even begins. Then, take a look at this excellent and inspiring piece from Arianna Huffington on beating stress in 2013…you’ll be glad you did.
Spread the wealth. And no, we don’t just mean in dollars. We all know the holidays are the season of giving, but giving doesn’t always mean taking an overwhelming shopping trip to the mall so you can check some names off your list. Instead, take a minute to research your community and help out in areas of need. Sign up to serve meals at your local food kitchen and you’ll see how many “normal” families rely on emergency food programs, especially this time of year when money is tight. Recruit some friends or coworkers and register for a beach or park clean up. It will give you a chance to reconnect with your natural environment and you’ll help others in your community do the same. Have some extra “stuff” lying around? Donate things you don’t need—it’ll help you declutter your own space as well! Old books could go to a local school or reading program. That business suit that fit you 20 years ago might help someone else land a stable job.
So, instead of the “crazy busy season”, let’s make this our season of “slowing down” and sharing—with ourselves, with our communities and with our planet.