It’s no news that today is election day and the holiday season is upon us. Politics can cause angst for people, top that off with the stress of the holidays and there is a nice concoction of anxiety, sometimes sadness (be it because some may be alone during the holidays, there may be financial worry, and/or your candidate and issues didn’t go the way you had hoped), and overall stress. So during all of this, how do we as humans stay grounded, calm, and peaceful when this chaos ensues around us? Here are my tips to kick start your calm amid the chaos:
- Set boundaries: This may seem simple, but boundaries can be difficult for people to set and moreover, hold. Setting a boundary doesn’t mean you don’t care about others, it’s actually a great way to show you care because you are letting them know you are unable to give all of yourself to them, so you are taking a break and then will be in a better state of mind to come back and help the person. By setting a boundary you are acknowledging that your mental state cannot handle the task and you need a break, and that’s okay! Take those breaks for yourself AND your loved ones. If you cannot talk politics it is more than healthy to say, “Look, I know these issues are important to you and I can see that you need to talk about it. I am feeling overwhelmed by the political talk right now, and I need a break. Would you be willing to put the political discussions on hold?” The same goes for the holidays. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the holiday pressure it is okay to say you need a break and even set a boundary such as one present for your significant other, or suggesting a Secret Santa to help with the financial burden of buying something for everyone (especially if you come from a large family).
- Unplug: This is, again, easier said than done. We are plugged into our phones, iPads, Kindles, computers, etc. day in, day out. We don’t get breaks from the media with the notifications from our social media apps and notifications from the news on our phones. It’s easy to be sucked into the political and holiday drama when it’s there, in the palm of our hands. So, unplug. I personally took the Facebook app off of my phone and am now on once per week to share my blog and do a quick skim of the newsfeed and then I’m gone again. It was hard at first, I thought I was missing out on something, but after a couple of days I realized how nice it is to have quiet and rather than comparing my life to those of my friends. I started to be more present with my family and more present with the life I’ve created. I also would encourage putting the phone away for an hour before bed or for an hour after waking up. This is a great way to either end the day or begin it in peace.
- Meditate: I know I’m a broken record with this particular point, but it is essential to quiet your mind when drama is around you, that way you can handle it better and are better equipped to manage it when it does come along. Meditating is a great way to block out the world, reset, and be with yourself. Even if for 5 minutes per day, it’s a wonderful way to calm your mind and alleviate stress.
- Exercise: Exercise is a great way to release endorphins, which are the hormones that help you feel good after physical activity. Think the “runner’s high.” Those hormones can help alleviate depression and anxiety. Exercise has many benefits, which include weight loss, increased energy, better sleep, stronger bones and muscles, and pain reduction (movement is your friend). If you work, have kids, etc. an exercise routine can seem daunting. Many gyms have free daycare, Pinterest has awesome home workouts, and if you live in an apartment there might be a gym on site (mine is awesome and so convenient). Even playing with the kiddos–dancing, running, playing tag–is a great way to burn calories and get those happy hormones released.
- Incorporate self-care: This goes along with numbers 3 and 4, but take it a bit further. If you take care of yourself, you are more able to take care of those around you and face those issues (like politics and the holidays) in a more graceful manner because you’re helping yourself feel good and complete. Yoga is a wonderful self-care regimen. Not only is it meditative, but also it is wonderful movement to release endorphins and strengthen your body. Massage is another way to work on self-care. It can help with pain relief, it is a great way to relax your mind and your body, and it can help alleviate stress. Reiki falls into this too because you can go into a calm, meditative state and leave your worries about politics and/or the holidays at the door and spend time with yourself and working on your self-healing and self-preservation. You can leave those worries at my office door and be there for you on my mat or table during a massage. (I’ve been partaking a lot in massage myself lately!)
This time of year, coupled with the election, can be straining for many people. It is easy to lose sight of ourselves and become lost in the confusion and uproar the holidays and politics can cause. You can, however, overcome it by taking care of yourself in order to communicate peacefully with others and navigate the holiday season with ease. I hope this time of year brings you joy rather than stress. If you’re feeling stress with it, that’s a signal you need to let something go and set boundaries. Love and light to you as this season officially commences and the polls close around the country.