Thursday, December 08, 2005

'Tis the Season to Be Stressed Out

For many of us, Christmas is a crazy busy season. Work pressures and deadlines increase in prep for the holidays, financial pressures increase because of the added strain to the budget, relationship pressures increase because of the family issues that inevitably rear their ugly head this time of year, time pressures increase because, well, there isn't enough of it. (That last one is actually a lie...but we find it easy enough to believe.)

So here are a few simple tips for reducing stress and giving yourself a "spacious" holiday season:

* Move slower. Yes, literally--dont' walk so freakin' fast. Purposefully move at about half speed. When you go through a door, open it slowly. (If you balk at this idea, you're not alone. But I dare you to just try it for a day and THEN tell me it's nuts. You'll see--it's simple, but powerful.)

* Take mini-vacations every day. Find a coffee shop or bistro you like that's on your way to work, and stop by there every day for a little treat and a little quiet. Turn off your phone, and for God's sake, don't tell anyone where you are!

* Just for this season, get up an hour earlier and spend the first hour of your day in quiet ease. Relax with some coffee, read the paper, pray--whatever puts you in a still, reflective space. (To do this, of course, it means going to bed an hour earlier as well...which is also a great idea for stress reduction.)

* Keep a Sabbath. At least one day a week, don't schedule anything. Just be. Just live. Do something fun. Be spontaneous. Sleep. There's a reason keeping a day of rest is one of the Ten Commandments. You need it.

* Practice "savoring." Instead of wolfing your food, tuning out the music on the radio, or ignoring the sunset outside your window--STOP. Look--just for a few seconds. And savor it. Remind yourself that, even when you're crazy busy, this moment right now is all you really have.

And all you really need.

Enjoy the Season--
Michael Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

Savor instead of stress....stop, listen, observe, slow down. Counter culture. Breathe. LIVE.
Create space. Take a walk. Watch a sunset. Think. Will do this holiday season! Thanks for your words!

bop.blop.bloop said...

Indeed we can CHOOSE not to be stressed out, zonked, burnt out, especially as we serve God. Lets be Marys, not Marthas! :)

Thanks bro, love your writings.