What’s your current holiday vibe? When we think about the holiday season, many of us imagine peaceful moments with our family and friends, gathered around the fireplace or a cozy meal. We imagine joyously wrapping gifts while we sing along to a festive soundtrack and nibble on homemade cookies.
The reality, unfortunately, is often far from the truth. End-of-year work commitments combined with the pressure to show up at every party, find the perfect gift, and plaster a smile on your face even though your brain is spinning quickly zap your energy.
Our Busy Brains are unable to maintain a sense of holiday dazzle, leaving us feeling downright frazzled.
Today I want to share some ideas with you to help you maintain a sense of calm and balance this holiday season. Here are some simple things you can do today:
- Check your emotional pulse before every invitation. Does the thought of attending another holiday gathering dazzle you with delight or leave you feeling drained? Do a gut check and say yes or no accordingly.
- If a task feels joyful, relaxing, or like a warm bonding experience, put it on the dazzle list. If an invitation or task feels like another item on a growing to-do list, it belongs on the frazzle list.
- We are asked to do a wide variety of activities over the holiday season, and can easily forget to take a pause. Check-in with yourself (and your schedules) and then make an emotionally informed decision.
My gift to you
This year, my team and I created a resource to help you thrive this holiday season. I invite you to download this 2-page PDF and print it out. Post it up on the fridge (right next to all those invitations) as a reminder to prioritize your health and well-being this holiday season.
This guide is jam-packed with tips and tricks to biohack your health this season. It contains simple exercises designed to calm your mind, eating tips to reduce holiday bloating, and more.
Frazzled or dazzled? brainSHIFT to spark holiday joy.
Spikes in our blood sugar raise stress hormone levels like insulin and cortisol – blunting our ability to think rationally and calmly. Then instead of scheduling comfort food, we find ourselves stress eating (I’m not judging, I ate 4.5 servings of Tostito tortilla chips to meet a writing deadline – and I don’t even enjoy this type of snack!).
Here are a few things you can do instead.
#1. Write down your frazzled list
Start a brainDUMP of everything bothering you. My friend Karen uses post-it notes for each item and puts them on her window.
Get out every frazzled, frustrated, and furious thought. Walk away from the list for at least 1 hour, and keep yourself busy with a relaxing activity. See if a solution appears to any of your frazzled points. A Busy Brain needs to feel and express emotions, and then we can brainSHIFT to create solutions and regain control.
#2. 2-20-2 brainBREAK
Walk away from the scene of the crime. Our Busy Brains cannot relax or cope if we are seeing our desks, hearing the dings of messenger channels, or touching our keyboards/phones.
A coping method taught in emotional resilience training is realizing when a frazzled feeling first starts. It’s difficult to track back up once we have fallen off the emotional ledge.
What is the first feeling in your body when you feel overwhelmed, anxious or out of control? Learn to identify this feeling so you can act before things spiral out of control.
How to do the 2-20-2 brainBREAK.
Can you spare 2 minutes? 20 minutes? Or 2 hours?
If you only have 2 minutes between meetings what can you do to brainSHIFT back to a sense of control? Typically controlled breathing is not enough here. Try intense physical acitivity like:
- Sprinting up a flight of stairs
- Burpeees (my least favorite exercise but this works)
- 10 deep squats- this is my go-to activity to get energy levels restored.
More often than not, we can spare 20 minutes. Leave digital devices behind and create a list of activities. My go-to list:
- Walk my dog Rahja around the block and let him meander and sniff everything in site.
- Go to the kitchen and chop up fruits and vegetables.
- Dance or powerwalk to 3-4 upbeat songs.
- Call someone who will make you laugh or feel like you got a virtual hug.
In a perfect world, we would be able to spare two hours for radical self-care time. You may be tempted to escape to work in order to check off personal holiday errands, but there is only a temporary dopamine high from checking off to-do lists. I invite you to use this time to disconnect from those never ending to-do lists.
- Walk with a friend around a lake that is 3.5 miles and then we grab iced coffee.
- Take a nap.
- Last week I watched a recording of the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables and all of a sudden, my misery dissipated.
Here’s to more dazzle!
Be gentle with yourself this holiday season. Your Busy Brain will thank you, and your family and friends will notice the difference.
Tell me some fun ideas on your 2-20-2 list! Share them with me by using the hashtag #brainSHIFT on Instagram or Twitter.