This Time of Year

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Christmas is upon us! Merry Christmas Eve! ‘Tis the season of joy, giving, and feeling overwhelmed and majorly stressed.

Things never seem to be just perfect at Christmastime, as much as we might like them to be. I know I do. This time last year I could not begin to get a grip on relaxation. Fast forward one year, and there is no comparison for me. I have still felt behind on my Christmas preparations, but this time I am continually reminding myself to relax and it is actually working.

Prepare to be Calm

I attribute this feeling to a few habits I have been working to develop over the past several months. This past fall I sat down and converted all of my goals and tasks into a personalized system (my hipster) that I created to suit my unique needs (based on recommendations in productivity books). For so many years I could never get a grip on my to-do lists, especially my work-related to-do lists.

Over the past few months, working from my new system and a renewed sense of self-worth, I am proud to say that I was able to truly get my work-related task lists down to zero before my month long mini-sabbatical that I am currently enjoying. It is an amazing feeling to know that I have done everything I needed to, and to be completely free from the worry that overflowing task lists and inboxes can induce.

Exactly one year ago, I had arranged to have a week off over Christmas, but ended up not enjoying the time at all because I had so many unfinished work tasks that I unfortunately spent my whole vacation worrying about. Never again!

Surprisingly, it is now my personal to-do list that I feel the need to reign in. I am not worried about it though, because I know that I now have the personal time I need to dedicate to getting through that list. Eventually, I will be able to maintain this list as efficiently as I have been able to maintain my work-related task list.

Since I have slacked on my personal tasks, I am not really all that surprised that I wasn’t as on top of my Christmas gifts and decorating as I would have liked to have been. Christmas was scheduled so fast after Thanksgiving this year, with just three weeks separating them. Every year I want to be one of these people who has all of their Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. Well, there is always next year!

I also would like to be a person who is with it enough to send out Christmas cards. We even got professional photos taken this year. The photos were taken the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I just decided I didn’t have the time to do the cards. I am happy that we have the pictures done, but I am just not going to put any extra stress or pressure on myself. And that is liberating!

Staying Healthy Through it All

In addition to a boost in personal productivity, I have also placed higher importance on staying healthy even during the holidays. My biggest health goal right now is to make time everyday to practice yoga, meditate, and go for a walk. It sounds like it should be a simple and easy enough plan to follow, but it is amazing how such simple activities can get pushed aside by the demands of a day.

During this time while I am off work and have no place to be in the mornings, I am making it my number one priority to do yoga and meditate first thing in the morning everyday. I am also making an effort to get out for a walk in the early afternoons. These three activities make all the difference between feeling sluggish and energized for the whole rest of the day.

I have also started drinking green smoothies more consistently throughout the past few months. I try to drink one for breakfast in the morning, and another for lunch (I am drinking one right now as I type!). Besides being yummy and refreshing, green smoothies provide an immediate allover boost that cannot be denied.

I am still enjoying the indulgences of the holidays, but I know I am never far from my next green smoothie or walk. As much as I enjoy Christmas cookies, you cannot get the sense of energy and alertness you get after a green smoothie or a walk from any Christmas cookie out there.

Christmastime is my absolute favorite time of year. Life doesn’t stop for Christmas, so it is no wonder so many people get stressed out during the month of December. Life is never perfect, least of all at Christmastime. But it is a beautiful season that can transform us through magic and miracles if we let it. Namaste!

How do you deal with the stress of the holidays? Please share your thoughts below!

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