You’re probably already anticipating a busy holiday season. Shopping lists are made, goodies are baking or bought, and the family gatherings are planned. We all want it to be fun and the expectations are exhilarating.
Until the to-do lists become too long, the budget too tight, and the number of social commitments unreasonable. Stress and overwhelming feelings may start to take their toll. We eat on the run, stay up too late too often, begin to doubt all our plans, and may get downright cranky with those we love the most.
The good news is a few small daily habits can significantly improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety so you can enjoy your holidays. While these may be familiar, doing them daily has been proven to chemically and neurologically change our minds and body chemistry for the better.
New habits take practice, so just begin—one day at a time—and before you know it, you’ll be noticing the benefits and feeling more equipped for the challenges of the holidays. If you have started these in the past, gently begin again. You got this!
1. Go for a low-key walk outside every day.
Even 10 minutes outside can lift your spirits and alter your perspective on the day ahead. Gaze at the sky, appreciate the trees or a breeze, and take a few deep breaths. Repeat.
2. Laugh more!
Laugh out loud as you drive to work. Ask the kids or your friends to tell you their latest jokes; tell them your old favorites—again! Check out laughter meditation to release stress and loosen up your worried mind.
3. Write down 5 things you are grateful for.
Every day, morning or evening. Start with what may seem obvious, then dig a little deeper each day. This daily practice builds on itself, strengthening a more positive outlook day by day, week by week, month by month. Forgive yourself when you miss a day or a week—and simply begin again. Read through the list like it is a precious song of your life. You may notice your appreciations deepening, your perspective on unexpected annoyances softening.
4. Nourish your gut-brain connection.
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What are you doing to support yourself during the holidays? We’d love to hear what’s working for you and your well-being. Leave a comment below!