By: Dr. Francesca Vazquez
Christmas is right around the corner and with that, a full agenda complete with holiday travels, parties, to-do lists, and, sometimes, the blues. This is the most wonderful time of the year but, unless we commit to slowing down and actually enjoy it, it can quickly become stress-filled instead of merry.
Taking time to slow down and reconnect with yourself and that holiday spirit, will bring out best in you and those around you, while boosting your health and mental wellness.
For ways to slow down during the Holidays, follow these quick lifestyle tips:
1. Shop Local
Instead of spending hours in crowded malls and department stores, try to make your shopping experience enjoyable rather than stressful. A good way to do this is by shopping local. Visit your local small shops and holiday markets. Street markets tend to pop up in the weekend and it's a great opportunity to shop for artisanal and unique gifts. This will make the experience less about spending money on gifts you have to get and more about connecting with others (which makes it a lot more fun!). You can also opt to purchase some of your gifts online and receive them right at your door step (hassle-free)!
2. Make Gift wrapping a Creative Process
Channel your inner artist through gift wrapping. Play holiday music in the background while creating works of art out of gifts! Use unique wrapping combinations, ribbons, and cute details. To go even further, you can even create a date out of this night and open a bottle of champagne or enjoy some hot cocoa with your partner, sister, or friend while you're at it.
Make an effort to unplug during the holiday season. Limit the use of cellphone and maybe even try charging your phone in the kitchen at night. Set your phone on airplane mode while connecting with your loved ones and quit scrolling. This will help you tune in to the present moment and really appreciate what's going on. Go on a drive to see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood, have a coffee date with a friend, take a stroll... and leave the phone. No Snap-chatting, No stories. Just Be.
4. Bake Christmas Cookies
Connect with old holiday traditions as if you were a kid. Have a Christmas cookie decorating night with family or friends. Then give them away as gifts to people you love. Get into the creative process of baking and decorating cookies. This will help you disconnect and enjoy time in the kitchen (Snaps and Stories are allowed for this one).
5. Write Christmas Cards
You've probably heard of the power of being grateful. This holiday season, take time to write some thank you notes disguised as Christmas cards for the people you love. To make it even more special, send them in the mail. Use the holiday season to express how much you love them and how thankful you feel. This will not only help you de-stress but it will cheer-up others in the process.
6. Create a festive nighttime ritual
There is nothing quite like the feeling of sitting by a lit Christmas tree while it's dark. During the holidays, try to unwind with a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate by the tree at night. Maybe wear festive pajamas for no reason, soak in a bath and pamper yourself with an at-home mask. Anything that helps you unwind and prepares you for a good-night's sleep is bound to make the holidays a little bit more merry!
Featured Image: Maw_Reads
Dr. Francesca Vazquez is the founder and editor of Ease to Wellness, LLC. She is a licensed health psychologist and vinyasa yoga instructor based in Miami, FL. She completed her training at Ponce School of Medicine, Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami, and UF Health Cancer Center, specializing in health psychology & behavioral medicine. She has worked in spinal cord injury rehab, neuropsychology, pain management, stress management, mindfulness based stress reduction, psycho-oncology and wellness coaching. She is passionate about writing, wellness and living creatively, doing what you love.
Currently, she runs Ease to Wellness while also providing health psychology services for exclusive clients, teaching yoga, and running wellness workshops. She is a regular contributor for websites such as www.mindbodygreen.com and a Medical Consulting Staff Member at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Miami, FL.