‘Tis the season to be jolly as “they” say. Wait, the season for what exactly? For most of us this season is defined by social engagements, wrapping up work commitments, school vacation, holiday traditions, decorating, cards, gifts, baking, extended family, trees, etcetera. Even the most organized approach doesn’t escape stressful moments and the occasional feeling of anxiety as we try to remember what we forgot.

Each year I turn my thoughts to what does the season really mean and what is most important to us. Have you ever paused to ponder what you like about other holidays and how you can incorporate those things into this one, and alternatively modify or minimize the things that create the highest stress and anxiety? Sometimes we take certain actions because of self-imposed expectations, or a fear of hurting someone or being judged if we don’t take those actions. Remember, healthy relationships understand the need to draw boundaries and respect choices without blame, even if it means declining an invitation or not hosting the family dinner.  

This year we have had the opportunity to spend time in a senior nursing facility. The pure simple joy we bring to the residents just by visiting, paying attention and talking with them had exactly the same effect on us. The pure simple joy of seeing a face light up is the gift. The cost: our time. Our precious time that otherwise would have likely been spent in a store purchasing unneeded gifts. Don’t get me wrong, we still have cookies to bake and family to see, but we did choose not to purchase a tree this year and share more of our time in the senior nursing facility learning about the lives of our elders and receiving the gifts that come with it.

A few tips to reduce stress and minimize anxiety this season:

  • Pause and take 3 slow deep breaths as needed
  • Gather greens from your yard or a nearby forest and create a wreath, swag or centerpiece. It’s easier than you think!
  • Repurpose items found around the house to make ornaments. Transform unwanted costume jewelry, ribbons, and even paper towel rolls from trash to treasure
  • Roast your favorite vegetables on a sheet pan with seasonings. Throw in a pot with broth, simmer and pulse for a quick healthy soup. Need protein? Shred some chicken from a store bought rotisserie or add some tofu.
  • Consider gifts that support wellbeing such as a gift card for yoga, massage, acupuncture, nutrition|health coach, or a meditation workshop
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the lights as you make your way through the Winter Wonderland
  • Discover the simple pleasures that make your season bright and share with us

SimplaFYI wishes YOU a peaceful and joyous season!