Presence During the Tough Times

presence stress Jan 06, 2020

After getting back to our daily routines following the holidays, we’ve done a lot of reflecting on how we could have better stuck to them, even though (really, especially because), holidays are so busy.

As they are, the holidays are stressful - juggling celebrations with family, sometimes multiple branches of family, struggling with whether or not to stick with your diet, sleep schedule, or gym routine, the list goes on. Nothing is ever “normal” between Thanksgiving and January 1.

Taking what we learned, and what we heard from some of our clients about their holidays, we put together this post to outline three SIMPLE reminders to turn to during the holidays, summers, or tough and stressful times in life so that you can continue caring for your mental health while spending time with or comforting others.

 

  1. Take a moment to ground yourself.

    When we get caught up in life’s whirlwind, presence and self-care are the first things to go out the window. When we have company, when we have to coordinate activities, when we want to be there for our family and friends, our attention turns entirely to them.

    That’s not a bad thing to focus on others! But you’ll be better equipped to give your quality attention and care if you are first taking time to ground yourself and stay present in the moment. Take time to breathe and to remember that you’re always in the present moment, and each moment is manageable on its own.

    We completely lost ourselves in the action of the holidays, and as a result we didn’t remember to stop and breathe until the end of the day, and by that time stress had already built up to a much less manageable level. The next time we get tossed out of our routine, even if we don’t have time for a morning meditation, there will definitely be a morning breathing exercise!

     

  2. Remember that routine does exist.

    Insert your routine where you can, even in small ways. Continuing to go through the motions of a routine, even if you aren’t completing all the tasks (get your journal out even if you don’t write in it, etc.) and if possible, stick to your keystone habit. That will make it easier to resume your routine after a stressful time, and will keep you more grounded and stable while you’re experiencing a busy time in life.

    After several nights away from our home during the holidays, we made an effort to come back to sleep in our own bed for at least one night every couple of days. On those days we got up early and went to the gym like we would if we didn’t have family in town, and for a few moments it felt normal. It wasn’t our full routine, but it was enough to comfort us and recharge us so that we could return to our families and give our best!

     

  3. Take the chance for a fresh start.

    As soon as things are winding down, or if you can steal a few minutes during the day, make a plan to start your routines back up again. Maybe they return in the same way, or maybe you’re coming out on the other side of a transition that will cause you to need to find a new rhythm. Maybe you want to take this chance to do something different!

    Ask yourself: When will I start up with my routines again? Is there anything about my previous routines that I disliked and should change? How will I hold myself accountable? Why are doing all these actions important to me?

    For us, we’ve found that in re-starting our routines, adding in some new things we’ve wanted to start doing has been easier since it feels like such a fresh start to everything. I hope you are feeling that way, too!

 

Just because you got thrown off by the holidays or by a change in your life circumstances, does not mean your routines are done for. You do not have to wait until Monday, and DEFINITELY not until the next New Year, to begin again. We hope this helps to remind you of that :)

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