If you follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn, you know I get up four to five days during the week at 4:55am and travel 20 minutes to my 5:30am Ashtanga Yoga Toledo Mysore group class with our teacher, Dhawi Pienta.
Most would say that sounds insane. Actually, doing this helps me stay sane. I wake up to the idea that I need to get up when it’s still dark outside, endure tension as I stretch myself, and get out of my comfort zone, as this is a major part of my self-care and mental therapy.
Simply getting up and showing up is an accomplishment. It is a true act of obedience, diligence, and perseverance, no matter what happens after that.
For most people, getting up and showing up during the holidays to spend time with certain family members seems like getting up at 4:55am. It sounds insane and can feel like you are going into dark, awkward and tense moments that you’d rather avoid.
Consider practicing these strategies to help you stay sane through the holidays.
Pray and meditate. Gain confidence and strength by deepening your spiritual connection with God. Pray and simply say, “God, help me. I need you right now to control my thoughts, my body language, and my words and guard my heart.” Repeat that prayer often. Don’t believe in God? Simply meditate. Find a quiet room and sit still for five minutes, breathing deeply and silently while repeating, “I am blessed and I am able to control my thoughts and my words.”
Don’t take it personal. This is the second agreement in the book The Four Agreements. Here is the bottom line: there are just some people and certain subject matters that push your buttons. Be sure to identify them before heading into the holidays. If your initial response is unkind, not all hope is lost. Simply apologize for your unkind statement. Then, from there, you can make a rational decision to either agree with what the person said and discern whether it applies to you or not. If it does not apply to you, immediately dismiss it. If it does apply to you, you can choose to have a discussion with the person about it. Regardless, often times, what people say has nothing to do you with you. Rather, it has everything to do with them and the world they live in.
Avoid the need to be right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having healthy conversations about topics that concern you and that you are passionate about. When you pleasantly concede your need to be right, you show your strength and humility, and retain relationships.
Forgive yourself and them… often. Letting go is the hardest part, isn’t it? Sure, they were likely wrong and deserve some sort of punishment. However, do you feel that you should be the one to render the sentence? When you choose not to forgive, you are the one who becomes sick and upset with voodoo thoughts and ill-will judgement. If you are in a life-threatening or abusive relationship, reconciliation is not the best thing for you, but letting it go is a necessary process. Start by thinking positively of the person who has offended you and wish them well in your mind. As you do this, you release any debilitating mental blockages and gain a new sense of freedom. Repeat this often!
Go for a walk. The feeling of breathing the air and moving quickly will allow you to trigger positive thoughts and set you into a groove that allows you to acknowledge what matters most. Allow the oxygen to run deep into your lungs. Breathe deeply as you practice steps 1-4.
Practice seeing the perfection in imperfection. We are all broken. No one is perfect. When you practice the above steps you become more humble, empathetic, compassionate, and willing to engage in conversations that may make you feel uncomfortable, yet you understand this is all about the process of being human.
By practicing these self-care tips, you too will endure the tension, stretch yourself, and do more than just stay sane through the holidays. You will thrive through the holidays, and in life.
Diana Patton is a Speaker, Social Justice and Integrative Health Advocacy Coach, Author and Attorney. Learn more about her by visiting her website. Click here to read a free chapter of her book, Inspiration in My Shoes, or read more articles, here. Interested in having Diana speak to your organization? Listen to this 15 minute video and contact her.