Happy Hanukkah! Soon we will be welcoming the solstice, the returning of longer days, and for those that celebrate, the joy of Christmas. The holiday season is upon us. There is much that I love about this time of year. I love the songs I only hear once a year, I enjoy the twinkling lights adorning homes, I love time spent with family and the joy and wonder of Christmas with my kids.  

I also recognize that there is a lot about this time of year that can increase stress, comparison mind, anxiety, and depression. There are obligations we hold ourselves to, even if they are things we don’t enjoy. Or we fill ourselves up with things we do enjoy, but then overextend ourselves and don’t have much downtime. We often feel like we need to give gifts that we can’t afford, custom design cards that we don’t have time for, plan or attend events we aren’t that excited about. Sometimes this time of year triggers feelings of loss, grief, or loneliness. Often, people find themselves at the end of the holiday season exhausted, depleted and a little more in debt.  

The last several years, I have worked on minimizing obligation and stress and increasing the values of this time of year I celebrate – generosity, peace, appreciation of family and friends, and the wonder and magic of childhood.  

Here are a few of the things I have taken on, to enjoy and weather the holiday season and keep my peace of mind too. These things are still a practice for me!  

  • Less gift giving: Several years ago, I decided to focus my gift giving on my kids and do my best to keep that simple. I also try to shop local and shop small, because it brings me joy to support other small businesses. Yes, it is easy to shop online, and there are lots of deals you can find. But there is something so much more satisfying to me to frequent local shops that I do year after year and make sure the money I am spending is going back to families that are right here in our community. Some of my favorite places I try to spend my holiday dollars right here in Tacoma are: Teaching Toys, King’s Books, Compass Rose, and Playback Sports, just to name a few.  
  • Doing less: I continue to work on taking more time for just being. This time of year, the rhythms of the natural world are slowing down, getting quiet and still. But instead, as a culture, our pace ramps up! Intentionally slowing down can be a challenge, when we are so used to moving quickly. Doing less might include saying no to some of the many invitations this time of year or stopping myself and considering before I make too many plans, even for things I enjoy. I notice my kids are happier also when we have less on the agenda.  
  • Practicing self-care: I try to make sure to get in for a yoga class before I feel depleted, keep my time for meditation steady, and get outside to move my body. It is not always easy, especially if your holiday involves travel, but taking time for yourself can be an invaluable use of your time – and allow you to enjoy the rest of your time more. 
  • Letting go of perfectionism: I do my best to let go of having to have things be perfect. It is still a lesson I work on. Perfectionism is an unkind frenemy and can be pervasive during the holiday season. A simple practice I have played with when I notice myself striving to have things be perfect is saying to myself, “Enough.” As in, this is enough, just as it is. I am enough.  
  • Being grateful: When I tune in to my gratitude for time with people I love, the details of how the holidays play out feel less important.  

I hope Source Yoga can support you in having a stress-free holiday. If you begin to feel stressed, overtired, or anxious, it is a good time to slow down and do less. Take time out, come join us for a class or one of our special events this month designed for slowing down and de-stressing, including our member workshop “Restore and Renew for the Holidays” with Lori Ferry, or our Christmas Day “Yin Yoga and Reiki to Nourish Within” with Shari Larsen and Lori Ferry, or bring your family to our “Family Solstice Event with Sound Bath” with Julia Nathe and Pricilla Jaeger

You might also consider a gift of yoga, for your loved ones this season. Shop local and offer the experience of calm to those you care about. Source Yoga Gift Certificates are coming on sale Dec 10th – 16th. Stay tuned! 

Happy stress-free Holidays!  

Erin  

PS: Considering joining us for the 2019 Source Yoga Mindfulness Based Yoga Teacher Training? Join Rebecca Ray and myself for a free info session this weekend – Saturday, December 8th, 10:30-11:30am at the UP studio. Please join us. Sign up here.