written by Raulla S. Mitchell
Amidst all the spiritual gratitude, bliss and goodness we share with our family and friends at this time of year, our holiday schedules begin to rev up, responsibilities to others pile up, and potential chaos can quickly send our heads spinning, creating stressful or anxious feelings which we know are not good for our skin. Stress has been shown to be at the root of many chronic illnesses, and can not only result in skin sensitivities, irritations and eruptions, but is a primary cause of premature aging. Who wants any of this? Not us!
Our skin, the largest organ of our body, reflects what is going on below the surface physically and emotionally. If you notice your skin acting up, don’t panic. Maybe it’s just time to take a look at your lifestyle choices this time of year. Your skin is your best friend, and she’s trying to tell you something important.
4 ways to reduce and manage holiday stress and recharge our emotional batteries:
- If you’re a list girl, block out time on your busy schedule for solitude and self-reflection. This is the foundation on which all else you do this season is built. Look at your list once in the morning, and throw aside temptations to check off line items throughout the day. Your list is not in control of your day. YOU are in the driver’s seat. THE MOST MAGICAL MOMENTS OF YOUR DAY WILL NEVER BE ON YOUR LIST. Leave room for the magic.
- As yourself: What’s truly essential to me today? What would I most love to do today, right now? Do it. Dance like Mick Jagger? Go for it, even if it’s only in your heart. The heart needs to dance and sing too. What makes me the happiest? When joy is your raison d’etre, all else will fall into place in an effortless and graceful, stress-free manner. Following your joy is the stuff guaranteed to melt away struggle and stress.
- Stop, relax, take a series of deep breaths for 3-5 minutes. You can do this anywhere. In line at the store, bank, market. In your car during rush hour. At your desk. In the bathroom with the door closed, especially if screaming children and barking dogs are on the other side. You are alive. You hold the possibility for renewed energy and joy. Empower yourself to live in the present moment, and don’t let anyone or anything take this away from you. It is your birthright as a spiritual being.
- Focus calmly and purposefully on one thing at a time. Spreading your energy in several directions at the same time not only frustrates, but is unlikely to accomplish anything with great satisfaction. Of course there will be times when you’ll feel pulled in more than one direction, but moment to moment, it’s essential to focus on one thing. The next moment, you may jump to the next thing in line vying for your attention.
ENJOY THE MOMENT
“Those who are always preoccupied with something cannot enjoy the world.”
Sixth century B.C. Chinese philosopher Laozi
Implicit in Laozi’s proposition is that enjoying the world is imperative to living life as we are designed to do. We are meant to enjoy the world, and must act in ways which allow us to fulfill this purpose. So, give yourself a break next time you feel preoccupied with what feels like ten bazillion responsibilities to others without a moment in sight for your own pleasure, and say “Time out, freeze frame, back in 5, or whatever you need….”
At the end of the day, when you’ve crossed off every item on your to-do list by dashing around preoccupied with trivial details, as if your day was created to be spent in a race against the clock from the moment you awaken, you end your day by emitting a sigh of relief, and tumble into bed only to find it difficult to unwind – sound familiar?
What is the purpose of living in this way?
What would we think if we saw an epitaph that read “She got everything done on her list everyday of her life.”? I’d admittedly wonder, what beautiful moments and amazing experiences did she miss while she was running around getting things done?
If, on the other hand, you have faith in your ability to handle all essential matters in a calm, focused and joyful manner, isn’t this an infinitely preferable modus operandi, anytime of year, and especially so when you can quickly discover yourself pulled in numerous directions.
Trust in one’s abilities to handle any situation in life flourishes within a realm of tranquility. Self confidence and faith reassure us that only by focusing on one thing at a time, as it constitutes all we have to do in the present moment will we accomplish our goals with personal satisfaction and joy.
Life is the sum of cumulative moments in time, all of which are precious. When we spend each moment joyfully, our life is joyful.