Wild, crazy, busy, stressful, overwhelming – there are so many negative words that we use to describe the holiday season! But let’s be real, it’s all for good reason. I always look forward to the holiday season as a time for total relaxation, but unless I’m careful, it feels just as busy – if not busier – than normal day to day. I’ve learned some practices for keeping things calm and collected during stressful times, which I think are especially helpful when guests are in the house, shopping lists are long, and holiday travel is imminent. Here are six ways that I like to slow down and really enjoy the holiday season – take them to heart!
- Meditate! Okay, I know you’ve heard this suggestion before, but hear me out. This year, I’ve been experimenting with meditation a lot, and I’ve found that it’s really helpful for clearing out my mind and helping me to be more “in the moment” (which I’m discovering is a real thing!). Meditation works differently for everyone, and there are so many kinds, but I’ve been turning to Deepak Chopra’s Chakra meditations when I’m entering a stressful time. (They’re long, but even sticking with it for half an hour makes a huge difference). This is the sort of meditation I’ll do the day before the family arrives for the holidays, so I’m feeling rejuvenated and balanced when the busy schedule begins. Headspace is another popular App for quick 10-minute meditations.
- Schedule a group exercise activity. Spending a whole day lazing in the living room with your in-laws can drive anyone up the wall; I find that getting a good workout is an instant, foolproof way to get moods back in order. I’ll be booking time at local tennis courts and ice rinks for my family, so we can get all of the cousins (and adults!) out and moving around. Yoga class, long walks, spin class or even something fun like Zumba could also work.
- Take an aromatherapy bath. Believe me, I am aware that it’s tough to find time to actually do this when you have four guests sharing the same bathroom and people to entertain downstairs. But even if you have to do it after everyone has gone to sleep – or, before they’ve waken up – spending fifteen minutes soaking in hot water and essential oils can work wonders for your nerves, mood and spirit. My favorite de-stress essential oil blend is the following: 2 drops lavender, 1 drop neroli, and 2 drop geranium essential oils. Drizzle a bit of the Revitalizing Body Oil in the water, too, and you’ll emerge with moisturized skin.
- Holiday shopping should happen online. It’s true; there’s something so fun and magical about spending a day out and about looking at the holiday decorations in the stores – I particularly adore the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman – but shopping online is a major time saver. I usually head to my favorite online stores: Net-a-Porter, Anthropologie, etc – in early December and get it all done at once!
- Do just one thing at once. We have a tendency to glorify multitasking, but I think that in the holiday season, slowing down and focusing on one task at a time – and really getting into it, not letting yourself become distracted or worried by other things – makes every task so much more enjoyable. I love to practice this when I decorate the house. It’s easy to look at it as a bothersome task that will take a few precious hours from my day, but instead I put on a playlist of holiday songs and put my heart into it. Our decorations always look better when I really think about the placement of each string of lights and each ornament!
- Practice gratitude. It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude during the busy holidays, but it’s what pulls me back to center every time I start to feel a little stressed. Even if it’s just in between thoughts, I think about how grateful I am for my children, my health, my home, the food on my table, the clothes in my closet, my parents and sisters and friendships (oh, and my skincare!!!). When I get into this frame of mind, life feels full. (PS – check out this recent New York Times piece on the emotional effects of gratitude. It’s powerful!)
I hope some of these ideas make it into your holiday season. I know, they’re easier said than done, but a little bit of intention can go a long way! Lots of love, xx Tata
PS – how beautiful is this stocking scene? Can you spot the little dog?! It was created by Sarah Edwards, the genius behind Sarah Smiles Creations! You can follow her artistic styling adventures on Instagram here.
Author: Tata Harper
I want to create beauty products that meet the standards of the modern woman: luxurious, effective, and nontoxic.