By Selina Mohr
The holidays mean different (and multiple) things to each of us. It’s spending beautiful moments with the people you care about the most, but it can also be stressful. Last-minute shopping and prep, seeing toxic family members, and spending a lot of energy, time and money can leave you feeling drained.
If you get anxious and stressed around the holidays, you’re not alone! Yes, I’m a millennial. I’m also an introvert. So I’ve learned to curate self-care practices to help ease my racing mind, especially when I start feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season.
1. Meditation. Meditation doesn’t just mean sitting on the floor, legs crossed and eyes closed. My incredible college professor Dr.Grimes once told her mindful communications class, “Meditation practice can take any form you want. As long as you are able to stay present in your practice.” After she said that, my world changed. Meditation was no longer an intimidating enigma. I realized I could practice meditation while taking a shower, going on a walk, painting, reading, etc… Whatever allows you to be able to hold space for yourself, by yourself, in the present. That’s meditation.
2. Routine. When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, a routine makes me feel safe and more myself. Routine can take many forms, whether it’s making sure I do a face mask every Wednesday, taking out the trash on Sunday morning, or making dinner for myself three times a week. Performing a routine can bring peace and ease during anxious moments.
3. Animals. A holiday party with people you only see once a year, repeating the same questions— “How’s the job? What was living in New York like? Are you dating anyone?” —is exhausting. But my grandpa’s holiday party also means: DOGS. Two very large dogs. And that’s the real reason I go every year. All jokes aside, animals are healers, stress relievers, and bring joy and comfort to those around them. I mean duh, they’re so stinking cute!! And they don’t try and hold forced conversation, they’re just happy to hang out and cuddle. Being around dogs, and animals in general, always helps me navigate stressful situations. They’re also a great excuse to escape boring conversations.
4. Asking for space. It took me a long time to learn this one and I’m still learning. Asking for space has played a huge part in helping me handle stress. Other people don’t know what you’re thinking until you vocalize it. As an introvert who needs to recharge after interactions, asking for space has become a must in my life. Asking for space gives you time to decompress and recharge. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, that’s 5 minutes more than you had before. Everyone deserves a break, especially during the holidays, when you’re expected to spend all your time with other people. Breaks allow you to check in with yourself and slow down when necessary. Be kind to yourself and ask for space when you need it.
5. Unplug. Learning to unplug from your phone and social media is an important skill to have. We are not our phones and we are not what we see on social media. You deserve to go an hour, a day, maybe even a couple days, without your phone or social feeds. You may have a demanding job, or love to be stimulated all the time, but taking a break from your phone is a good thing. Whenever I take a break, my perspective shifts. The time I have when I’m not on my phone allows me to prioritize my life differently and realize what I truly care about. Instant gratification from social media and cell phones can be very satisfying, but have you ever hiked Malibu creek unplugged, forcing yourself to listen to nature and watch the sun wane over the ocean horizon? That hits different…trust.