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December 14, 2022

Putting the "Break" Back into Winter Break

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Photo of winter break sign with clock and ornaments

How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Season

It’s wintertime. The trees have shed their leaves and animals are going into hibernation. Nature is slowing down. Taking the time to rest and regroup is important for people, too. Schools go on winter break and workplaces offer holiday time.

Winter break is a time to catch an end-of-year recharge. But while the holidays are a big part of what refills our proverbial cups, they can also create a busy schedule and added stress.

Whether you have a week, a day, or are an essential worker sticking to your routine schedule (thank you for all you do!), here are some ways to “take a break” this holiday season.

Don’t Overbook Yourself

The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends but overcommitting to get-togethers can be stressful.

Do you find yourself making plans for seven out of the eight nights of Hannukah? Are you trying to coordinate times to visit Uncle Rob’s, Aunt Carol’s, and two sets of grandparentsall on Christmas day?

Trying to fit too many stops into your schedule can leave you feeling rushed, checking the clock for your next engagement instead of spending quality time with your loved ones and simply enjoying yourself.

Everyone has their own personal meter for how much social time is good and how much will leave them “running on empty”. It’s okay to listen to that inner meter and plan accordingly for the holidays.

The solution might be to plan that family get-together a day (or week) later than usual, or to say a kind, “Thank you, but we won't be able to attend this year” to a holiday party.

Remember, it’s okay to say “No”.

Find Ways to Relax Your Mind and Body

If some form of relaxation isn’t part of your “break”, we’re here to tell you you’re doing it wrong! Even if you are someone who finds joy in being on the go, there’s still value in creating mindful moments to reduce stress.

Relaxation doesn’t have to be a trip to a fancy spa. There are endless ways to relax that take minimal or no money at all. It might be blocking an entire day off your calendar to disconnect and unwind, or simply taking twenty minutes to read a book with your morning coffee.

Here are just a few seasonal ideas you can mix and match:

-Make a comforting, hot drink (peppermint tea, hot chocolate, mulled cider, etc. are all good choices). Try drinking it slowly and appreciating each sip.

-Use essential oils or spices to scent the room. Many people have diffusers. If you don’t, setting a small pot of water to simmer with warm spices, vanilla, and/or citrus peels is a cozy way to scent a home with items from your cupboard.

-Play some tunes. Did you know that music doesn’t need to be slow to have a calming effect? Listening to your favorite tunes, especially if you are singing along, can produce serotonin and reduce stress. That makes singing carols or other holiday songs a great choice. Bing Crosby, anyone?

-Enjoy some nature. Move your chair to sit by the window and watch the snow or bundle up for an invigorating winter walk.

Whatever activity (or non-activity) works for you, the important thing is that you’re carving out some time for yourself.

Don’t Aim for Holiday Perfection

Making the holidays a magical time for your family is an admirable goal. But when you want everything to be “just right” you’re putting pressure on yourself. Family quarrels, burned casseroles, and gifts that need returned are all part of the bow-topped package.

Don’t stress it! Giving yourself permission to not have things perfect will go far towards giving yourself a break.

Take a lesson from the trees and the bears this winter season and allow yourself moments to slow down and recharge. It may not be on your wish list, but it’s just the thing you need!


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