The snow has arrived and with it, the stress of the holiday season. Winter in general is a tough time for me as I deal with less light and colder temperatures. Add on to that, fighting through crowds and the added responsibilities of this time of year, and I started looking outside for help. It was through this searching that I found an article that I found intriguing. I posted it awhile ago to my Facebook page. 10 Things to do when You’re Overwhelmed was put out by The Chopra Centre that I came up with my experiment. As a former science teacher, I love the idea of finding something to experiment with.
I read through the list of recommendations. Many of the items are things that I already do regularly. However, there are a few that I think I could stand to work on. The first was to prioritize self-care. This is a hard one when so many obligations are shoving their way on to you lap. I run a couple of support groups for people living with chronic health conditions. This time of year is when I put a lot of energy into making sure that all of my ducks are in a row for the events we plan for those groups. I also want to decorate my house, go shopping, and make sure everything is tidy in the event of visitors which is common this time of year. I love doing all of this stuff, but it can also be energy draining. I started thinking about what would be a realistic frequency to plan a day over the next month that I could designate to my self-care. A day with no housework, no battling malls. Just rest and relaxation and doing the things that fill me up like art and sewing. I decided on once a week. That is what I could do. That is where I would start. I scheduled my first Me Day for last Saturday.
The second area I chose to work on was a day to Unplug and go on a digital fast. This was necessary for me for many reasons. I have been super involve in the news politically in my province and it has been energy sapping to say the least. I needed to take some time time to disconnect. I also spend a lot of time on social media which is not always the most positive place to be. It has been keeping me up at night which is always my sign that things need to change. So I set myself up for success by letting people know that last Thursday was going to be my first day at unplugging. My mom inquired if she could still call me to which I said of course. I would still talk on the phone but not text. I informed my husband that I would not be doing any advertising for him that day on the computer. A whole day without touching anything digital. I could still listen to music on my phone but would block any notifications.
I’ll give you an update on how those days went for me. My hypothesis was that the digital unplug would be harder for me than the self-care day would be. I already practice self-care so that shouldn’t be too hard. The unplug day would be harder to not answer the constant beeps and blings coming from my phone. What surprised me that the opposite was actually true. My unplug day was lovely. I spent longer on my morning routine than usual. I stayed home most of the day. I sewed a bunch of gifts for people, I wrote a lot, I read a ton, and generally rested. I went outside, even though it was freezing, and I made a lovely dinner for supper. This day actually didn’t bother me at all. The self-care day was a bit different which was mainly in my planning. I thought a lovely way to spend it would be to go for breakfast with a friend and to a market. Then I would come home and have a soaker tub bath and listen to music. I made plans the day before. However, the day of, my friend wasn’t feeling the best so she had to cancel. Hmm. What to do know? I found another friend to head out with. We went to a market that was really busy which made me super tired and definitely not rejuvenated. I also heard my sister was coming to town for the day, so I went to meet her at a market after I had already gone to a different market earlier. Not my best plan. It was great to see my sister and definitely less busy at the second market, but still more than I should have done. I then headed home after a 6 hour walking and shopping day. I get dizzy when I am over tired. A bath also make me a bit dizzy due to the heat from the water. I felt a bath was out of the question. I ended up being tired and going to bed early. Epic fail on the self-care rejuvenation day. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who recommended a do-over on Sunday. I took him up on that. I spent the day at home. I had a peaceful bath first thing in the morning and watched movies and took my dog out for a walk.
Some tweaking will be required for this week. Self-care day will be planned to stay closer to home and doing more solo activities so I am not relying on others and calmness from outside. Shopping anywhere at Christmas is probably not the best plan for trying to create calm in your life.
All we can do is try our best to achieve and maintain calm during the holiday season. Maybe give the article a read and see which areas you may be lacking in or are finding difficult this season. Let me know if you decide to try your own experiment and how it works out for you.