If I had to attach one word to the holiday season it would be FULL. For better or worse, this time of the year is full of people, full of expectations, full of festivities, and for many, full of travel.
Up until now, my version of “holiday travel” was braving the LA freeways for a few hours. This year, my husband and I became part of the swell of people crisscrossing the country the week before Christmas.
In all the travel madness, I mentally made myself a holiday survival guide so I could try to keep hold of my sanity and my holiday spirit. Whether you’re making your way down the street or across state lines this week, I hope these five tips help you survive the holidays.
Legs Up The Wall
Adding a bit of yoga is never a bad idea, and this super beneficial pose doesn’t involve stretchy pants, a yoga mat, or even standing up. Legs up the wall is particularly effective in calming the nervous system, reducing swelling in the ankles and legs, grounding you after long hours traveling, relieving sore leg muscles, and helping you fall asleep (hello time zone changes).
Embrace the Temporary
As we rolled our luggage into the airport Monday morning, I mentally told myself “This is just going to suck, but it won’t last forever.” Much to my surprise, everything ran smoothly, security wasn’t an issue, and our flight left on time. But I’m glad that I was mentally prepared to deal with difficulties should they have arisen.
Sometimes, just remembering that things won’t last forever (airport lines, traffic jams, annoying conversations at holiday parties) helps us get through tough spots quicker and with a better attitude.
Set Yourself Up for Success
The holidays are stressful. Period. So think about what you need to make them easier and then give yourself that. When packing, choose only outfits you know you feel good in, bring your own pillow to help you sleep better, carve out some time in the morning or evening to journal, etc. Being out of your home and routine is tough, but little bits of effort on your own behalf can help you feel more stable amid the holiday haze.
Open Yourself to Experience
Many of us live so much in our heads (worrying and planning and comparing) that we ignore the present moment completely. A quick, sure-fire way to bring more ease into this week is to make the intention to be open and to absorb as much from an experience as possible. Notice the string lights, smell the ginger cookies, look at your relatives’ faces instead of your phone screen. Like I said before, this time is temporary, so let it soak in a little.
This is a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget. Just be thankful. Our first night in LA we spent hours in traffic making our way up to my parents’ house. I was tired and cranky and didn’t feel great. I wasn’t short on complaints (as my husband can attest to), and I had to remind myself how lucky I was. We had the means to travel to see family; we’d made it safely across the country with no lost luggage; we had a place to stay and friends and family we were actually excited to see.
Yes, the holidays are full of so many things. But filling ourselves with gratitude for the fullness is a way to savor this time of year instead of stress about it.
Good Luck! And Happy Holidays!