The holidays are a time for celebrating relationships and cultivating joy. While there are many specific rituals and holidays that people participate in, the intentions are usually pretty similar. We all want to experience a positive connection and love with those we care about.
Despite our intentions, the holidays can often become a source of stress and anxiety for many of us. Planning, busyness, and relationships can all lead to thoughts and feelings that prevent us from enjoying the full spirit of the holidays. This blog post will discuss how to release stress and cultivate peace throughout the upcoming festivities.
Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First
If you’re an adult, it’s likely that the holidays bring a flurry of tasks and chores for you to take care of. Holiday decorations, meal preparation, and shopping for gifts can all require considerable time and attention. Of course, planning holiday events often involves many people, and can sometimes be a source of lengthy discussions or even friction. All of these activities create demands on your mind and emotions that aren’t usually experienced throughout the rest of the year.
Okay, there’s a lot to do during the holidays, so how do you go about staying sane and grounded. Well, the first thing to take care of is yourself.
Even though the holidays are largely about giving to others, it’s important to remember that you cannot give what you don’t have. If your own internal world is full of stress or anxiety, it’s going to be very difficult to show up for others as your best self. Just think about the advice given by the flight attendant before an airplane takes off. In the event of an emergency on a plane, all passengers are advised to secure their own oxygen mask before helping others. The reason is simple: without securing your own oxygen mask, you may run out of breath before you have a chance to help anybody else. Of course, that could lead to a very devastating outcome for all involved.
While the holidays don’t starve you of oxygen, they can deprive you of much-needed personal self-care, while at the same time imposing challenging demands on your mind, emotions, and time. Therefore, it’s extremely important to secure your own proverbial oxygen mask before giving emotional and mental energy to your friends or family.
Setting Up Your Day For Success
The first thing you can do to maintain healthy, stable energy is to start your morning with some time to yourself. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a lot of time, even seven to ten minutes can make a world of difference. If you have more time, then take it. Thirty minutes is a great amount of time to get your day started on the right foot.
Lee suggests beginning your day with some Qi Gong. Qi Gong is a wonderful way to give your energy a boost while also helping your nervous system to stay relaxed and at ease. Instead of entering your day in a reactive manner, a brief practice can allow you to establish inner stability so you’re grounded in your own true intentions.
If there’s another activity you love to do in the mornings, plan that into the first few minutes of your day as well. Perhaps sit in a chair and drink a cup of tea, or take a walk outside to enjoy some fresh air. Just find whatever it is that works best for you and create a stable practice.
If you have limited time, Lee’s 30 Day Challenge offers many amazing practices that each run just seven minutes in length. Although that’s not a lot of time, you’ll immediately feel a tremendous difference in your energy level by practicing. Also, each routine is unique, so you can look forward to some variety in your mornings. If you have more time, Lee offers many other great programs that are perfect for helping you to start your morning.
Checking in with Yourself Throughout the Day
Even with a regular Qi Gong practice, it’s always possible to get thrown off your center or depleted as you go about your day. A solid morning practice helps us to face life in a more skillful manner, but we can’t expect to be above all the trials and challenges that come our way.
In addition to establishing a healthy morning routine, try to check-in with yourself throughout your day. These “check-ins” can either be pre-determined (i.e. lunchtime) or can be decided based on how you’re feeling. If you’re rushing around to prepare your home for guests and realize you feel depleted, perhaps take a moment to check-in.
When you do these check-ins, try to pay attention to your internal energy. Lee suggests giving your energy a rating between zero and ten. If you’re feeling great and ready to take on the world, you probably are at nine or ten. On the other hand, if you feel drowsy and depleted, you may be closer to two or three.
If you’re around a two, three, or four, it’s probably a good idea to step away from what you’re doing and take some self-care time. A brief walk outside, meditation, or Qi Gong can all help you to regain your energy. It’s truly amazing what five or ten minutes of Qi Gong can do! Once you feel ready, go ahead and return to the activities you’ve chosen for yourself.
Although it’s always great to step away when you need it, we also realize that it can be difficult to pause what you’re doing in certain cases. Just try to do your best and prioritize self-care throughout all you do. Being in touch with yourself and knowing when you need a little recharge is half the battle. If you find yourself overwhelmed often, perhaps decide upon pre-determined times to do a little Qi Gong practice. As your routine becomes more regular, it will be easier to return to your solid baseline whenever you need to.
Next week we’ll be sharing a little “De-Stressor” meditation. Until then, we wish you the best of Qi!
Written by Ian Drogin