Nov 12, 2020
12 min read
Another holiday season is upon us but this one probably feels a bit different than most. During these unprecedented times, we may need to re-imagine what it means to celebrate, while keeping ourselves and those around us safe and healthy.
Here are 3 powerful tips that will help you A.C.E. this year’s unique holidays!
A. Acknowledge your Emotions
Even though you hope for a festive spirit over the holidays, you are also likely to experience some amount of stress. It probably cannot be avoided completely.
This year, instead of pushing them away, can you allow yourself to feel your full range of emotions? From frustration and sadness to gratitude and happiness–and everything in between? Feeling your emotions is actually good for you!
In the past, you might have ignored negative emotions that made you feel tense, confused and exhausted. When this happens, you are unable to process your emotions. Consequently, these unprocessed emotions leave you with heavy baggage that just keeps piling up.
Let’s do things a bit differently this year! Instead of ignoring them, how about acknowledging your emotions as they arise?
If you aren’t sure how to do this, you’re certainly not alone and I’m here to help. Following are two different techniques that can be useful for identifying and working through your emotions:
The purpose of this method is to bring everything to your conscious mind. Instead of hiding from your struggles, you simply face them and accept them as they are. It’s not always easy but, with practice, you will be able to apply this technique to your daily life. And you’ll begin to reap the benefits in your mental and emotional states.
Whatever your situation, acknowledge your emotions to yourself first. Here are some examples for you to try out:
When you miss your loved ones whom you would have traditionally celebrated the holidays with, simply be willing to say: “I’m sad.”
When your family or friends are not available to meet you because of COVID-19, try saying: “I’m lonely.”
When you are trying to avoid indoor spaces but you need to go into stores to buy gifts or food, yet some people are not maintaining their distance, express yourself to yourself by saying: “I’m frustrated.”
When there is too much to take care of, too many things to organize, too much online shopping to do, acknowledge it by saying: “I’m overwhelmed.”
Simply identifying these feelings is a small step that has a ton of power to prevent negativity from settling in and taking over.
3x3 Breathing Technique
Negative emotions tend to create tension in the body, which may appear as headaches, stomach pain, shoulder tension or other physical symptoms. The good news is that you can release this emotional tension out of your body using a simple breathing technique!
Where do you usually hold your negative emotions? Is it in your chest, in your stomach, on your shoulders, in your lower back, or somewhere else? Without judgment, notice this and then accept whatever is arising.
Next, use the 3-by-3 Breathing Technique in this way:
Take a deep breath, attempting to inhale into the place where you feel the tension in your body. Hold your breath for 3 seconds. Then exhale fully and completely, releasing the tension out of your body. Do this 3 times. You should feel a sense of relief from the stress that your emotions can cause. If not, you can repeat it again.
C. Care for your Body
Ideally, holidays are for you and your family to come together in beautiful unison. But, sometimes, they may also end up being a source of stress and anxiety, resulting in you running on an empty tank.
In order to enjoy your holidays to the fullest, you need to know how to fill up your tank and care for your body. This will allow you to be healthy while sustaining the energy and vitality you need to interact with your loved ones in positive ways.
Consider these three simple things you can do to look after your body:
Sleep is the rest cycle for your body. How do you sleep? Do you have a bedtime routine with a consistent bedtime? When do you turn off electronics? Do you release the stress of the day, maybe with a warm shower, calming herbal tea, or soothing music? Have you tried using a weighted blanket?
2. Eat Well
Food is fuel for your body. What are your eating habits like? What do you eat to stay vital and energetic? You know the holidays are often a time of overeating. How can you enjoy your food consciously and not fall into guilt trips? (Hint: If you do, go back to the I-Statements in the section on acknowledging your emotions!)
Movement replenishes your body’s energy. How often do you move? Do you stretch? Do you go on walks? You don’t need to be fanatic about it. But you can probably carve out 5 to 10 minutes each morning and night to stretch your body or go for a quick walk around the block.
Have you heard of shinrin yoku (forest bathing)? Maybe this holiday season, try to immerse yourself in nature or at your local park. Allow yourself to pause from the busy-ness and hear the birds, feel the crisp air on your face, even feel the strong Earth underneath your feet.
E. Express your Heart
This is an invitation to get in touch with your inner child. Have you ever asked yourself what you really want (besides trying to please others!)? What do you truly desire for this holiday season? What wishes comes from the depths of your heart? Ask yourself these questions. Then, tune in to your heart desires and write them down one by one as they come up.
Now, go through your list. Which ones speak to you the most? Narrow them down to 3-5 items. Maybe it’s a painting project, a singing lesson, a bridge party, or a dancing contest. Maybe it’s hosting a figure skating watch party or a poetry night. Maybe it’s something as simple as gathering the family to look through old photos.
What matters most is that you listen to what comes from your heart.
Next, decide how you would like to live out these desires. Invite in your creativity. Instead of making a list of excuses about why this is impossible, adopt an attitude of “what can I do to make this happen?”
You can choose to do it by yourself, with one special person, or connect with groups of people you love! However, you go about it, find out what you truly want, desire, and wish for this holiday season. Then aim to give that experience to yourself as a gift from your heart.
Now that you have learned to Acknowledge Your Emotions, Care for Your Body and Express Your Heart, you are ready to A.C.E. this holiday season. It’s time to get started and make the most of your time.
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