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With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment, to ask you a quick question.
Check inside and ask yourself, ‘How am I feeling right now?’
Just close your eyes, and notice what’s going on inside your body at this moment. Are you feeling constricted, tight and stressed? Or are you feeling free, expanded and joyful?
Are you breathing deeply, or is your mind filled with mental angst and worry for all the things that you haven’t done yet?
Are you worrying about which presents to buy or what being together with family on Christmas Day will be like? Do you have financial concerns on your mind?
Firstly, I want to assure you that whatever you are feeling right now, it’s actually going to be okay. Take control of your mind and reassure yourself this.
It might also help to take a deep breath of trust in and exhale a big breath of relaxation out. Tell yourself that everything is going to be fine. Everything is going to work out okay. Smile. And, if you want, you can repeat a few more times until you feel better!
As you build up to Christmas this year, it is important to know that you can choose how you want to experience these precious moments.
A beautiful quote that one reader shared with me, 'Worry is a great waste of the imagination'
Remind yourself that these are very precious days, minutes and time in your life. Make each of them count. Because, here's the truth: they do matter.
Last week, I ran a special competition exclusively for my newsletter readers to share with me the 3 things that they would be doing this year that would help them to let go of stress and worry, so that they could really enjoy Christmas this year.
Hundreds of emails poured into my inbox, and I began to recognize some interesting themes emerge.
As I read through the emails, I decided that it might be really helpful to share some of the ideas with you today on my blog.
That way, if you do happen to find yourself feeling stressed at any stage this week, you can come back and read through this wonderful list and find something much more enjoyable to do instead!
1. Enjoy Spending Time with Loved Ones
“Enjoy the real gifts in my life – spend time with my family, friends, all the very many blessings that I can tend to over look.”
“Light the candles while listening to music and playing games with friends and family.”
“Enjoy every moment of being with my children & grandchildren while I can.”
“Go sledding and play with my family.”
“Plan a bonfire gathering with close neighbors on Christmas night (we are having unseasonably warm weather here!)”
“Spend time just hanging out with friends.”
“Spend some time relaxing with my dogs.”
“Enjoy the miracles of this season by spending as much time as I can with family and friends.”
“Curl - up in front of a lovely fire under a soft throw with my 2 little Jack Russell doggies and pussycat!”
“Enjoy the people, not the things.”
2. Eat Consciously
“Be "present" before and during the times that I eat, taking the time to enjoy the fresh, delicious and seasonal foods on offer.”
“Make Christmas dinner with mostly organic, non-GMO food”
“Do absolutely nothing on Christmas Day except stay home with loved ones and watch movies, drink delicious (and organic cocoa) hot chocolate and relax!”
“Eat early in the day instead of waiting until noon for my first meal.”
“Slowly heat together some cloves, cinnamon and star anise with lemon and orange in a saucepan on top on the stove, then just relax and enjoy the beautiful smell of Christmas wafting through the house.”
3. Practice Gratitude and Appreciation
“Express gratitude for all my blessings. As an emergency nurse, I see first-hand life-changing things, that happen in an instant.”
“Wake up appreciating everything, even the small stuff in my life.”
“Being thankful EVERY morning ~ Do this out loud while driving to work. It's amazing how the spoken word has power over any negative thought. (I do believe it has changed my life).”
“Buy ‘less’ gifts and spend ‘more’ time with friends and family.”
“Appreciate all the Christmas decorations everywhere I go: from Christmas trees and decorations in people's home (including mine!) to Christmas lights on the main streets to shop windows. I appreciate the sparkle and creativity.”
“Pay attention to the beautiful decorations and lights as I walk home from the bus instead of bemoaning not having a car and being cold.”
“Let someone important in my life know how much they mean to me.”
“Enjoy all the beautiful Christmas lights.”
4. Do Fun and Joyful Things that You Love
“Make my home warm & cheery.”
“Watch my family open their gifts.”
“Teach more yoga.”
“Remind myself that I don't need to buy everything, or feel stressed to do so either.”
“Live and enjoy each moment to it’s fullest!”
“Smile and spread joy to other people who may be feeling stressed or worried.”
“Share my time with less fortunate people.”
“I love to turn on the Christmas tree light and turn off all the other lights in the house and just listen to Christmas music.”
“Smile and laugh (a little more than usual).”
“Be enjoyable to be around.”
“Go on a holiday and really let myself enjoy it.”
“Decorate the Christmas tree”
“Meet with my friends”
5. Practice Rituals of Loving Self Care
“Say no to attending Christmas Parties that I don’t want to go to.”
“Spend time in prayer.“
"Get a relaxing massage"
“Unplug from work when I'm away from my computer.”
“When feeling stressed, ask for a hug (they decompress me immediately).”
“Turn off the lights, television and all electronic devices.”
“Do some gentle forms of stretching and movement.”
“Every year I want to visit a nearby garden that put up lights but I don't go because I would have to go alone. I will do that this year.”
“Go to the National Cathedral in DC like I've wanted to for Christmas Eve, with no pressure from anyone, I just want to!”
“Do things with my girlfriends.”
“Have tea and coffee in my garden outdoors.”
“Take an evening bath.”
“Release everything that doesn’t serve me anymore.”
“Take time out of my busy schedule to watch my favorite Christmas movies by myself late at home in the evening.”
“Have a candle lit bubble bath in the Christmas full moon!!”
“Travel and send cards to myself from every new places that I have been because I love to receive mail and these days no one do this.”
“Listen to soothing music.”
“Plan nothing and just let the day happen.”
“Read my new books.”
“Put my tired feet in a bowl of warm water with essential oils.”
“Enjoy all the different and yummy smells of Christmas. Soak them up and let them infuse into my Christmas-filled heart.”
"Spend time with my Zen coloring Book and color until my heart is happy."
“Sleep in, relax and have lots and lots naps”
“Treat myself to a beautiful scarf that makes me feel joy every time I wear it.
“Sit and relax in the candle light or by the light of a real fire and enjoy a glass of home made mulled wine or a fruit rouges herbal tea with added cinnamon, star anise and cloves – ooooh, now that feels like Christmas and will be very relaxing.”
“Find balance between attending (relaxed!) social Christmas events at this time of year and continue to attend exercise classes, to keep my energy levels up and help me feel healthy and balanced.”
6. Gently Move Your Physical Body
“Spend more time out in nature. I tend to avoid this in winter but I know I need it to feel sane!”
“Ride my bike.“
“Rock climbing indoors.”
“Swim in the ocean.”
“Enjoy being out in nature more often.”
“Swim at the local outdoor pool, surrounded by grass, trees and ducks.”
“Go on a sleigh ride.”
“Ride the cycle at the gym several times a week. It's easy on the hip and relieves any pent up stress from the day. I'm having a little residual problem with my left foot so walking isn't the best thing right now.”
“Walk outside in the snow.”
“Walk besides a river or take long walks on the beach.”
“Go for long walks with my love to look at the Christmas lights.”
“Let my hair dry in the sun during summer time, barefoot and in a swimsuit no matter my weight.”
“Go out to the mountains and enjoy their beauty.”
“Move house so that I can be closer to the seaside.”
“Ride my bike and take pictures from these stunning places.”
“Take a walk and admire the Christmas lights.”
“Make a commitment to go for a one-hour daily walk.”
“Take long walks with my best friend & my dog near the river.”
7. Connect with Your Creativity
“Spend time painting.”
“Create a new vision board to inspire the best 2016 ever.”
“Write an uplifting song using qualities such as love, hope and resilience.”
“Bake cookies with my family.”
“Sing and go Christmas Caroling.”
“Go belly dancing (during these holidays with Christmas songs!).”
“Go to the theatre to see my favorite movie.”
“Take myself on a date to the cinema to watch a favorite old Christmas movie.”
“Send beautiful holiday cards to a few chosen people with a personal note instead of mass impersonal mailing.”
“Go travelling and adventuring to new places.”
“Create my own Christmas decorations.”
8. Deepen Your Spiritual Practices
“Read my Bible daily.”
“Go deeper with my personal yoga practice.”
“Make a point to meditate every day.”
“Start and end each day with your meditations (Katrina).”
“Morning and evening yoga quickies.”
“Increase my yoga practice to every day, even if I can't get to a class I will do a set of poses at home.”
“BREATHE! This is made even more enjoyable by diffusing some great essential oils into the air.”
“Go for a walking meditation.”
“Enjoy doing some gentle yoga and daily meditation.”
“Use my breath to stay in the present and let go of worries and fears.”
“Do yoga to my favorite Christmas song! That will turn any negative Christmas thoughts into joyful vibes and laughter!”
And, now it’s your turn! Which idea did you like the best? What enjoyable things will you be choosing to do this year?
Leave me a comment below and let me know. I really look forward to reading your replies… :)
Please do feel free to share this article with your friends and loved ones.
Wishing you a fabulous, fantastic and festive season!
With so much Love,
From my heart to yours,
Katrina Love Senn xo