We’re entering the most joyful time of the year — and also the most stressful. Between keeping up with all of our usual daily responsibilities and doing the holiday shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, and events, it’s no surprise that many of us find it a relief when the holidays are behind us even though we look forward to them.
But whether it’s the holidays or just usual life stress, there are a few simple things you can do to ease the stress quickly. They’re all easy and most of them will even give you more benefits than just reducing your stress.
Start your day with mindfulness
What do you do when your alarm goes off? Do you hit the ground running, checking emails and returning texts immediately? Do you lie in bed, eyes still closed, dreading the day ahead?
Try starting your day more mindfully. What might that look like? Here’s what my mindful morning looks like:
· I spend 20 minutes reading my current read
· I do 20–30 minutes of yoga
· I meditate for 10–20 minutes
· I write in my journal
· I go for a bike ride or walk (alternating days)
· I eat breakfast
Only after I do these things do I dive into work, emails, etc. Your mindful morning might not look exactly like mine. Maybe yours will include sipping a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise, doing a crossword or word search, cuddling with your kids or a pet, or something else.
The main thing is that these activities should be ones you enjoy and ones you choose. They should not add to your stress, cause you to interact with the world or work before you’re ready, or be random activities that you do just to fill the time or because they “need” to be done.
Start a bedtime gratitude practice
Bookending your day with mindfulness in the morning and gratitude in the evening is a great way to reduce stress, improve sleep, and just generally make your life a little better. Start embracing gratitude at bedtime.