I have to be honest: I’m definitely feeling the pressure with everything I have to do for the holiday season. My list includes putting out Christmas decorations, shopping for presents for my nephews, taking my daughter to see Santa Claus, mailing out holiday cards, planning our Christmas Day visits, and more.
In desperation, I recently sat down with Brian Granader, who is a certified life coach and the owner of Red Lotus Yoga in Rochester Hills, MI. He shared some valuable advice on how to avoid getting stressed out during the hectic holidays.
The minute the season begins, we start making long lists of stuff to do which creates anxiety and pressure to get a lot done in a short period of time, Brian said.
“I think that too many people are trying to fit 26 hours of stuff into each day,” he said. “It’s so important for you to be present with yourself and the people around you.”
He offered an example (for those who identify with biblical lessons) about Moses.
“We get some of our richest experiences in life when we’re paying attention to what’s going on around us. I’m pretty sure that Moses wouldn’t have seen or heard God talking to him from the burning bush if he was texting, watching television and drinking a latte all at once.”
Brian suggested slowing down in order to reduce the pressure we feel when trying to get everything done during the holidays. It’s important to unplug from Facebook, your cell phone, your iPad and your computer, too.
“We all should be doing a digital detox,” he suggested. “Spend some time being silent. This will also help you to be present with your kids and family. Although the world is always speeding up, we should try to slow down.”
Brian, who has owned his yoga studio since 2003, stressed the importance of developing a daily practice such as meditation, yoga and prayer, and sticking to it in your daily schedule.
“The holidays give us a chance to wake up to the things that matter most,” he said. “The stress of the holidays is simply a stimuli that’s internal. You can choose to respond to it or not. You can also learn how to rewire your inside.”
He warned that stress causes back problems, a lowered immune system, shortness of attention span and headaches, among other health problems.
“The question really is, ‘Can we calm ourselves long enough to see the holidays for what they really are?’” Brian asked. “We have to incorporate more mindfulness into the busy times. And mindfulness allows you to step away from the immediacy of your feelings so you can take everything in. When we pull back from the hustle bustle, it builds our mental strength.”
Brian suggested that mental strength is the key to de-stressing during the holidays.
“I believe that de-stressing and slowing down helps us to see the world differently,” he said. “Managing this will help our inner happiness.”
Happiness can result from adopting healthier practices, too. New Year’s resolutions can be an opportunity to start the year with specific goals on self-improvement. However, many people don’t stick to their resolutions for longer than one month. Jeff shared this advice on adhering to resolutions.
“We often commit to too many things and then we can’t do any of them well. Pick one or two things that you really believe in because it’s really about how we can do the most good,” he explained. “So think about where to focus your efforts and talents. Where will you do the most good?”
The next time you find yourself in a crowded mall, stuck in traffic, or bombarded with Christmas parties, remember these tips. For additional reading, Brian suggests reading Huffington Post writer Carolyn Gregoire’s “13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day” and the book, “The Power of Prayerful Living,” by Doug Hill. To learn more about Brian’s classes, DVDs or his yoga studio, visit RedLotusYoga.com.
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