The holidays are a time of joy, excitement, gratitude, and celebration. We love being able to spend quality time with family and friends, as well as take a step back from all of the monotony of day-to-day life, school, and work. As much fun and magic as the holidays bring, they can also bring loads of stress, anxiety, and sadness.
Anxiety Around the Holidays
Anxiety and stress can be amplified around the holiday season due to sadness about loved ones no longer with us, hosting and providing for extended family, financial insecurity, and making efforts to provide gifts, service, and quality time to our nearest and dearest. Just the idea of trying to live up to what is perceived as the ideal family holiday can add to your overall level of anxiety.
“According to the American Psychological Association, about half of all women (44%) and one-third of men (31%) report increased stress around the holidays.”
That is a significant number. So, why are so many people feeling an influx of stress during the most wonderful time of the year?
A huge reason stress can be triggered around the holidays is the idea of obligation. We feel obligated to give the perfect gift to all of the people on our lists ranging anywhere from neighbors to colleagues to bosses to our family members, as well as having to travel to see family or friends we have not seen in awhile, and overall just trying to do the most in the smallest amount of time.
That is exhausting! It is no wonder that the holidays can bring so much joy and so much stress at the same time.
So, how do we cope with the additional anxieties that arise during the magical months of the year?
Combatting Holiday Anxiety
Although the holiday season is a great time to surround yourself with people, it is also a great time to go inward and reflect. We are unable to pour into others and nurture our relationships if we do not put time into protecting our peace and our minds.
Self-care is not selfish. It is easy to get overwhelmed by activities, to-do lists, parties, and meals around the holidays, but making sure you add time with yourself, time with nature, and time doing something that gives you life is key to combating anxiety and stress during this magical and busy season.
There are many self-care rituals that you can incorporate into your daily routine. A great way to pick out a moment for yourself is to simply think about what it is that gives you life and fulfillment as a human being. Think of taking “Microsteps” to self-care. These small, science-backed steps can help us build habits that significantly improve our lives.” Arianna Huffington. The holidays can be a catalyst, forcing us to examine our lives, our priorities, and our ways of living and working. It is an opportunity to make the most of a moment, accompany our big goals with small steps. it is in those small steps that will help us bring forward the wisdom we’ve accumulated over the year and build new habits that help us create healthier lives.
If you are into moving your body and creating a mind-body connection, try a yoga flow or taking a walk in the morning light. Studies have shown that exposing your eyes to early morning light can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and stabilize our body’s sleep schedule. Better sleep can translate into a better mood and a better energy level, which can aid in decreasing stress and anxieties.
If you enjoy a slower morning, making a cup of tea (perhaps infused with some fresh rosemary or sage from your garden) or coffee and sitting on your porch, balcony, or by a window might be a better route for you. Taking small sips of a hot drink surrounded by the sounds of the wind, people walking, and birds chirping can be deeply meditative and allow you to go inwards and reflect all of the goodness surrounding you.
Whatever you choose to do, we hope you can find a moment of peace and stillness within the chaos of the world around us.
Using Nature to Nurture
Whether you have a Gardenuity desktop garden or an outdoor garden, there are ample options for you to take a pause and get a little dirty! We recommend watering your garden the first thing in the morning and taking a moment for deep, meditative breathing.
This is also a great time to start your day off with a gratitude practice.
You can write down what you are thankful for, however big or small, or speak it out into existence. Taking these mindful moments to practice gratitude can do wonders to manage stress and anxiety. When we are able to appreciate all of the little moments of good in our lives, we can be better equipped to handle small stressors and prevent ourselves from getting flustered, as well as see the bigger picture of life.
Whatever feelings the holiday season brings to you, we wish you peace, love, and joy! For more information about decreasing stress and using nature to nurture and ground yourself, check out our blog.