Your calendar is packed with holiday parties. Your Pinterest feed is overflowing with festive cocktails, and cheese platters, and the 9 layer casseroles. You’re stressed. You’re tired. It’s “the most wonderful time of the year” but, are you in a place to approach it with joy and gratitude? If not, go easy on yourself. Stress is real – maybe all you need is a little grace and a little guidance. That’s what we’re here for! I’ve rounded up a few tips from our sistahs in the Femmes community to help you keep your health – physical, mental, emotional – through this crazy and beautiful time of the year.
Practice gratitude. Every single day. Every single hour. Every single moment. This is an easy bullet point to throw around because if you’re reading this, you already know you should be grateful – but I’m challenging you to practice gratitude. There’s a difference between feeling grateful and choosing to acknowledge and assign gratitude in ordinary moments. When we get busy and stressed, we rely more heavily on our habits, because they takes less energy and brain capacity than conscious decision making. So, unless the practice of gratitude is a habit, it’s likely to be de-prioritized when your mind is in stress-mode. Make it a habit to write out 5 things you’re grateful for – ordinary things – every single day. This will make you more aware throughout your day of things you can acknowledge gratitude for. When I’m especially busy, I’ll set a reminder on my phone at random times throughout the day to re-center myself in a place of gratitude – it’s a simple practice but, I promise, will move mountains in your life.
Drink more water. I want you to see that 8 glasses of water per day and raise it. Did you know that, at minimum, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every single day? Especially during this time of year, it’s so, SO important to keep your body hydrated. The air tends to be more dry, so that’s a natural reason to up your intake of H2O, but water is also a key factor in keeping your immune system strong and energy high. I carry my beloved 40 oz. HydroFlask with me everywhere, and it’s a game changer for reminding myself to drink up. Bonus: water helps keep the feeling of hunger at bay, making it much easier to glide on past the inevitable office treats this time of year.
Try something new. This may feel like the exact time of year that you don’t want to add a single new thing to your calendar, which is maybe exactly why you should. Stretching yourself outside of your comfort zone is foolproof for getting you out of a rut because it breaks the patterns that suck you into a toilet bowl of stress. Commit some time, even if you only have 10 minutes each day, to doing something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t made the time for yet. This can be anything from trying out that new boxing class, to finally not ignoring those Duolingo push notifications, to taking public transit to work instead of driving, to taking an online course about digital marketing.
Don’t skip your workout. I’ve heard it said that working out “creates” energy. If any of you happen to know the science behind that, I’m genuinely curious and would love if you could drop it in the comments. My non-physician’s analysis is that moving your body is a one-two-punch for getting your mind right by releasing endorphins (science!), stimulating blood flow (science!), and just making you feel good, you know? I’m saying, prioritize this effort for yourself not as penance for the extra holiday cheer you indulged in but because it is a way to serve your body, which is a temple of your soul.
Go to bed earlier & wake up earlier. This is my anthem for taking control of your day! To me, mornings are everything, but even if you’re not a little early bird like that, just giving yourself a few extra minutes to set your day up, feeling rested and in control can be an absolute game-changer when you’ve got a list as long as Santa’s of things you’ve got to get done. In reality, most of the behaviors that make us feel less than stellar happen in the later hours of the day, so making more time in the morning to start your day with a fresh perspective will help boost your productivity and your mood. And since sleep = queen of everything, swap out your evening scrolling or extra episode for some extra Zzzz’s to help stay healthy and out of the red zone of overwhelm.
And now, take a moment, breathe, and realize everything you need today is already within you. You’re perfect, you’re capable, and you’re doing your best. You’ve got this.