The holidays are a time for connection - sharing quality time with family and friends. However, they often come with a heaping helping of anxiety and stress. It's important to make time for self-care to balance out all the obligations and responsibilities that arise during this busy time of year. It is equally important to guard your energy and set boundaries to keep from overextending yourself.
Here are some simple, natural ways to find peace and calm amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. If you are pressed for time, start with number one. Weave several of these tips together for a deeper, more expansive experience.
1. Step outside onto your porch, balcony or backyard and take three deep breaths.
2. Build upon #1 by finding a quiet place to sit comfortably. Close your eyes and do a body scan from top to bottom, noticing the areas that are tense or sore. How might you bring some relief to those areas? Listen to the sounds around you. What aromas surround you? Slowly open your eyes. What are you noticing?
3. Enjoy your morning coffee or tea outside in the sunshine. Natural light is a wonderful way to signal to your brain that it's time to wake up. It also helps thwart seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
4. Go for a slow, intentional walk around your yard, neighborhood or a local park noticing what's in motion. What are you noticing?
5. Eat lunch or take your afternoon snack outside, soaking up some Vitamin D in the form of sunshine.
6. Catch up with friends or family by taking a walk together, incorporating fresh air, moving your body, and connecting with your community. If you can't meet in person, pop your earbuds in and catch up via phone.
7. Practice the art of "sit-spot." This is my favorite nature invitation and the source of much inspiration and peace. Find a place outdoors where you can sit comfortably and quietly. Start with 5 minutes. Practice each day, or whenever you can, building up to 30 minutes. If this is difficult for you physically, modify with props. Use a camp chair, yoga mat, blocks, blanket or towels to find a comfortable position. Notice what unfolds around and within you.
8. Children and dogs are great at inspiring fun, light-hearted walks full of wonder and awe. Take them for a walk or hike and let them lead (keeping safety in mind). See what unfolds!
9. Start your day by journaling, preferably in the fresh air if weather permits, or by a window with a view of the natural world. This is a great way to release anything that is stressing you out, recalling a dream you want to remember, or simply document what is happening in your world at the moment. Still not sure what to write? Here's a prompt to get you started: What is the winter season inviting or inspiring you to do?
10. Find a park or trail in your area that you've never been to before. Spend a few hours wandering and exploring. I wonder who you might meet and what you might see!
BONUS: Find a walk hosted by a certified nature and forest therapy guide in your area or wherever you're traveling. My upcoming walks here in western North Carolina are posted at the bottom of my home page. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and Forest Bathing Finder are great resources, too!
What tips do you have for finding calm amongst the chaos of the holidays? Leave a comment, below.
Tree hugs and kisses,
About the Author
Kelly Bruce is a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide/Trail Consultant and the founder of Natural Wanders. She leads forest bathing and nature therapy walks in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina through Asheville Wellness Tours and the North Carolina Arboretum. Connect with us on Instagram and Facebook. Photography by Maggie Rogers.
Welcome! I'm Kelly Bruce, a certified nature and forest therapy guide. Read on for inspiration to help you improve your overall wellbeing, naturally!