If you could only give yourself one piece of advice for the rest of the month of December, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to breathe and stretch.
December feels hard for many of us. There is always lots to do leading up to the holidays. Maybe you are feeling a bit of anxiety about navigating the holidays with family, both yours and your spouses’. Questions are looming in the back of your mind that you don’t yet know the answers to; at the work parties should you wear a mask or not? Will there be a neighborhood or friend party, and will folks feel comfortable eating around others? And on top of all of that, there is the end of the year! What will you do to mark going into 2022?
To get through the month with ease, I am reminding myself to take time to breathe and stretch. I know that I always feel better when I start my day with a few stretches and also when I am intentional about doing it. It’s not a looming to-do list item. It’s how I start my day.
Creating a new habit out of nowhere is complex, and the self-care that you are adding to your life shouldn’t add stress! So here is what breathing and stretching for December is looking like for me; when my alarm goes off, I hit snooze, and rather than trying to go back to sleep for a few minutes, I focus on breathing into my body. I wiggle my toes, fingers, and rock my head from side to side, to stay awake while I focus on inhaling and exhaling on a count of 4 each time and wait for the alarm to go off again. Then once I get out of bed, I stretch my arms over my head and interlace my fingers and lean over to each side, stretching the side of my body. I then put my hands flat on my bed and walk my hips back so that my spine and arms are straight, and let my head hang between my arms. This is a great way to open up the chest and shoulders. I stay here for about 30 seconds.
And that’s it, and then I begin my day. Yes, it is that simple.
Remember, it’s not about creating a whole new lifestyle change or overhauling your life. This is about focusing on what you need to be a safety net for the remainder of the month. What makes you feel better each day when you take just a few minutes to do it? Taking small steps towards change allows us to be the person we truly want to be during this holiday season.