Two weeks ago, you were brainstorming Halloween costume ideas. Last week you were preparing for a natural disaster. And if you don’t live on the East Coast, you were preparing for the post-storm news bombardment. This week, you’re chewing your nails about the presidential election happening tomorrow. (Don’t worry, we have you covered there with 5 tips to mentally survive the Obama/Romney chatter).
Where does the time go? Have you even had a cup of cider yet? The holidays will be here before you know it, and the stress gods will really have a field day if you don’t give yourself a time-out.
Here at Bite Size Wellness we know it’s easy to let your schedule swallow you. And because it often really is difficult to sneak in a few minutes of calm, we’ve got four easy tips to help us save our sanity before the holidays kick into full gear!
1. Challenge yourself
It’s Monday morning, and the last thing you want to do is look in the mirror and say, “Change something about yourself today.” Black coffee sans sugar sounds more agreeable.
But the benefits are enormous, and the variation doesn’t have to be elaborate: if you have a stressful meeting, ignore the impulse to be shy and speak up. You might not have faith in your opinion, but the courage of your convictions will speak for itself. On a crisp autumn day, promise yourself 10 minutes in the park. Feed the ducks, or just close your eyes and breathe in the scent of the dying leaves (or, you know, something else that maybe smells better).
2. Treat yourself
Meeting, reports, meeting, phone call, doctor’s appointment, groceries, laundry = it’s gonna be a long day.
If you know you won’t have a second to rest, pamper your morning. Stop at the expensive bakery and get the chocolate croissant you’ve been eyeing or duck into the adorable boutique you always pass by and window-shop. Don’t try to double these treats into errands: window-shopping is just window-shopping, there’s no need to jump ahead to Christmas just yet. And if you’ve been busy from the word ‘go,’ then at the end of the day, cue up your TiVo backlog with a hunk of dark chocolate (science gives this a thumbs-up).
3. Occupy yourself
No, I’m not talking about holding an in-apartment protest against your stress. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re with friends, having a laugh and getting coffee together.
Your hectic schedule can induce loneliness, but this is avoidable: on Monday or Tuesday of each week, e-mail/text/Facebook friends to ask what they have planned for the coming weekend. I speak from experience when I say this works–even if their plans are hazy, your friends now know you’re interested and available, and they’ll remember that when they decide to go to the movies, or a new restaurant downtown. They’ll include you, and you’ll feel included – it’s a win-win. (Bonus tip: Check in with friends you don’t see often – both of you will have lots to share, and there’s nothing quite like catching up with someone who’s been missing from your social circle.)
4. Teach yourself
This is #4 on the list, but is actually my top tip for several reasons: It’s never too late to learn something new.
Whether the French Culinary Institute is teaching a class on omelets, or the hot yoga studio just opened up a discounted class, sign up – and go. You’ll learn something, meet new people, and decompress. How many other facets of your life have all three benefits? But taking a class isn’t the only way to learn something. Pop into the local art shop and ask an assistant’s advice about beginner’s supplies: charcoal, canvas paper, acrylics, etc. Then crack your new tools open and mess around with them – no one’s grading or critiquing you.
Do you have any sanity saving tips before the holidays kick in? Which one of these do you promise to implement into your life?