The holidays are filled with joy and wonder and parties and celebration, as it should be. But still, there never seems to enough time to get everything done, and you can feel your shoulders tensing up as you rush from “to do” to “must do” to “want to do.” All the work you’ve done at Pilates In the Grove all year long seems to fall by the wayside as you put off classes, because something has to give, and it’s easiest to put yourself and your needs last as you try so hard to make everyone else’s holidays merry and bright.
But you can’t really enjoy yourself—or help others to do likewise—when your muscles are twisted and your nerves are scraped raw. The hard part is convincing ourselves that the Holiday Police aren’t following us around, ready to haul us down to the precinct if every last detail isn’t perfect. Our houses must sparkle (we think), the homemade cookies must be arranged just so on Grandma Sara’s old platter, the gifts selected to elicit shrieks and/or tears of joy from every recipient and—by the way—be wrapped elaborately and placed just so under the perfectly decorated tree.
Really? Will the entire season be a disaster if you bring a store-bought pie to the office party? Or string one less set of lights? Maybe it’s time to take a break from Pinterest and banish Martha Stewart from our heads, give ourselves permission to do what we comfortably can, and just chill a little bit. And realize we’re no good to anybody if we’re nervous wrecks.
One way to accomplish that is to build a few brief breaks into each day, timeouts we give ourselves, not as punishment, but to rest, refresh ourselves, and recharge our batteries, so we’re better able to take in the joys of the holiday season, and to take pleasure in family and friends.
So here are a few ideas on how to incorporate relaxation into your daily life for the next few weeks. They don’t have to be long breaks—ten minutes, twenty, a half-hour—but they should give you at least a few moments to breathe. The details can take care of themselves. And in the meantime, have at least one break a day from all the craziness.
- When is the last time you took a long, hot bubble bath? Close the door, light an aromatherapy candle, fill the tub with your favorite fragrance and maybe some Epsom salts, and let the tension melt away.
- Being near nature is always a great way to gain perspective and leave worries behind. We’re lucky to live in warm weather near some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. So carve out some time to kick off your shoes and walk along the beach. Feel the sand on your feet, listen to the seagulls, watch the waves gently rolling ashore.
- Yes, it’s okay to nap. You may not have time to do it often, but instead of reaching for that fourth cup of coffee to drag yourself through the afternoon slump, pick a rainy afternoon and take a brief snooze. Thomas Edison used to take a fifteen-minute nap every day, and look how much he was able to accomplish!
- The adult coloring book craze took off with a vengeance a few years ago, and there’s a reason for that. Focusing on selecting the right colors and coloring within the tiny lines is a type of mindfulness meditation. That is, staying in the “now” to give your brain a break. You don’t have to complete an entire picture all at once. Set an alarm clock if you think you’ll lose track of time.
- Do yourself a favor and give yourself the gift of Pilates, at least once a week. There’s no better way to work out the tension and refresh and renew yourself than escaping into the serene retreat of a Pilates In the Grove studio. Book a class or a private session now, and see how much better you’ll feel afterward.