5 Ways to Create Peace During the Holidays

The season of peace on earth and goodwill to all is upon us. Although a good holiday movie, party and gift giving are fun, the reality is that we often experience the holiday season as craziness and never-ending to-do lists. For some reason, I am always surprised by how busy this season becomes. This shock usually registers around the 10th of December when I’m exhausted, over committed and trying too hard to control everyone’s happiness and expectations. That is certainly a recipe for disappointment, overwhelm and burnout.

Is there anything one person can do help themselves through this season of cheer?

Here are 5 things you can do today to help get you through the next month.

  1. Remove a bit of clutter.

Decorating for the holidays can be fun but it also invites clutter to build up. Take 10 minutes, set a timer and declutter one small corner of your world. Maybe it’s your car, your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. You don’t have to tackle the entire huge job but see what you can accomplish in 10 minutes. You might surprise yourself! Creating one tiny clutter free corner may be just what you need.

2. Give yourself the gift of 20 min.

Often when I challenge clients to create a self-care routine they respond saying they simply do not have the time. We all live busy and demanding lives can you find a mere 20 minutes to spare? It is easy to fall into all or nothing thinking but that will lead to putting yourself last over and over again. Examine your schedule, find 20 minutes and set a meeting with yourself.

What can you do in 20 minutes? Quite a lot if you are intentional about how you spend it.

            Call a friend

            Take a power nap (set a timer!)

            Breathe deeply while listening to peaceful music

            Spend time playing with your kids or your pet

Whatever you do, make sure that it is something you want to do and you do it with intention. 20 minutes a day can have a big impact on your mental health.

3. Stop being so serious and laugh!

 You would be surprised at the mental health benefits of laughing. Laughter allows you to breathe more deeply and take in oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It also increases the endorphins in your brain. It activates and relieves your stress response and give you a relaxed feeling. It also stimulates your circulation and helps with muscle relaxation which help relieve stress symptoms. Here’s a funny cat video to get you started.

4. Look around and name 3 things your grateful for.

This suggestion is quick and easy. Stop. Look. List three things you think or see that you are grateful for. As corny as it sounds, gratitude can change your attitude.

5. Get enough sleep.

I think this is the most difficult of the list. Sleep is important for your mental and physical health and most adults don’t get enough of it. Try to prioritize your sleep by giving yourself a regular bedtime. Turn down the lights as the night gets later. Wash your face, get into your pajamas, read a book and turn off your screens. We all know sleep is important but often we need to be reminded to make it a priority.

If you need support and would like to speak to a professional counselor about topics such as the one featured in this blog and are in the Chicago area, please contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.

Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern

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