Slow Down and Enjoy the Season

Do you crave downtime for self-care and more moments to spend with loved ones?

1. Schedule Down Time
What events are super important and need to put on the calendar? Then take time to schedule down time for just you or with your family, or both. This may be a day or two to just hang around the house.

2. Take Notice of the Little Things of Gratitude
Each day write in a notebook (or add to your mobile notes app) three to five things you are grateful for, maybe one of the children did something nice for their sibling, or you bought a yummy apple pie. As a family, you could go around the table each night and say out loud one thing that happened during the day that each person feels is something they are grateful for.

3. Take Time to Enjoy the Different Views and Displays of The Season
When you see a beautiful light display while out running errands, don’t just blow right by. Instead, if there are no cars behind you, slow down and take a few seconds to enjoy the work the homeowner or business put into their display. If you eye your child marveling at the something during the season–stop and soak up their facial expressions.

4. Spend More Time in Person with People You Love and Less Time on Social Media
For the month of December set limits with yourself for social media. Spend perhaps five minutes in the morning, five at lunch and another five after dinner and then the rest of the time stay off it! Set a timer and make yourself keep to these limits.

5. Focus on One Thing at A Time
Multitasking is great in some situations, but in others, it takes away from the moment. Instead of folding clothes while watching a movie with the kids, sit down and snuggle up with them.

6. Unplug for A Set Time Each Day
Even if it is just for 15 minutes at the end of a long day, spend it unplugged. No TV, no smartphone, no music app, no audiobook, just you with your feet up and a favorite cup or glass of whatever. Spend the time reflecting on the year past and the year ahead. Spend this time dreaming about what could be in the year ahead and remembering all the beautiful memories you have made this year.

7. Stop Competing and Comparing
In today’s social media age, competition and comparison has been taken to a whole new level. Suddenly our “good enough” looks like a “never good enough” when compared to the polished pictures on Instagram. But that is just it; the images are polished, cropped, and taken at that small moment in time when everything looks perfect. They are brightened, highlighted and only show a little slice of life. Stop comparing and competing and start focusing on what matters to your family–chances are that is not having the best-decorated anything. I bet they don’t even care about having the best tasting or the largest, what they care about is being loved by you.

8. Create A Relaxing Holiday Environment Within Your Home
Make sure there is at least one room in your home that feels like a holiday haven to you. One that has a place where you can snuggle up, maybe under a cozy blanket and with a view of the fireplace. Bring the scents of the season to life with candles and home fragrances. Splurge on your favorite holiday blend of coffee or that fantastic cocoa mix you love. Pick up some holiday creamer, candy canes, mini marshmallows and whatever else you like to stir in your coffee and cocoa. If you are more of a tea drinker, pick up a holiday blend and some sugar cubes.

9. Downsize, Delegate, Let Go of Things You Don’t Truly Love and Cherish
Here is an example of downsizing. Perhaps you have been known to bring homemade cookies to every holiday gathering, but every year this stresses you out. Instead of homemade cookies this year for every party, try a simple no-bake treat or buy pre-made sugar cookie dough. As for delegation, perhaps you have decorated the house for years, but this year you are just not up to the challenge. Bring out less and let the children do it or at least help. It might not look like you think it should, but they will love it even more.

10. Get Outside
Even when it is cold, a walk outside is good for your physical and mental health. Bundle up and get out there! Aim for a 20-30 minute walk each day. Or if you can’t go outside, join a yoga class or another fitness class and enjoy working out with other people. Of course, the exercise doesn’t have to be the same each day. Sledding and snowball fights (if you aren’t in Houston) also count! Get out there and have fun.

11. Curl Up with A Good Book
Every year I like to pick one Christmas themed fiction or non-fiction book to read starting on December 1 with the intention of ending it by Christmas day at the latest. One fiction title that I particularly enjoyed was The Red Glove Collection. A nonfiction Christmas read that is very thought-provoking was The Purpose of Christmas.

12. Pick and Watch Your Favorite Holiday Movie
A holiday movie with the family enjoyed at home can be just what you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the season and get your holiday spirit back, but I want to encourage you also to take the time to watch your favorite holiday movie, even if the rest of the family doesn’t enjoy it. Indulging in what you love once and a while isn’t selfish, it’s called refueling.

13. Take Time to Savor Some of Your Favorite Holiday Treats
Now take indulging in yourself one step further and bake up or buy your favorite holiday treat–even if the rest of the family doesn’t enjoy it. Also make sure not to just to cut a piece and stuff in your mouth. You can sit down and savor each morsel distracted by nothing but the sound of “mmm’s” as you enjoy each bite.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Enjoy as many moments as you can!

Image by James Wheeler from Unsplash