Slow Living Series: How to Slow Down During the Holidays
by Emily Patnaude Nov 07, 2023
The holiday season is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful times of the year, filled to the brim with family, friends, festivities, and togetherness. However, it’s also known for its relentless pace, as we constantly rush from one event to another, juggling shopping, decorating, and seemingly endless gatherings.
In the midst of this whirlwind, it’s easy to forget what the holidays are truly about – cherishing special moments with loved ones and practicing gratitude for all that we have.
This is where the art of slow living comes into play. Slow living is an approach that encourages us to embrace a more deliberate, mindful, and intentional way of life, and by intentionally slowing down during the holidays, we can savor every precious moment, reduce stress, and find a deeper sense of fulfillment. In this portion of our “Slow Living Series”, we’ll explore why it’s so important to slow down during the holiday season, and provide you with 7 actionable ways to do just that.
Why Slow Down?
Unfortunately, the holidays have become a time of increased stress for many of us. From the pressure to find the perfect gifts to the anxiety of preparing elaborate meals, we often forget the true essence of the season. Slowing down is essential for several reasons:
Reconnect with Loved Ones: Rushing through the holiday season often leads to missed opportunities to connect with family and friends. Slowing down allows us to spend quality time with loved ones, creating lasting memories and strengthening relationships that will last long after the cold winter months.
Reduce Stress:The holiday season can be overwhelming as it is, and by embracing a slower pace, we can reduce the stress that we tend to put on ourselves and improve our mental and emotional well-being.
Mindful Consumption:Slowing down encourages us to be more mindful of our consumption, especially during a time where consumption is at an all-time high. Instead of buying excessive gifts or indulging in endless holiday treats, we can focus on what truly matters – whatever that is for you.
Appreciate the Little Things: The magic of the season often lies in the small moments, like cozy evenings by the fire, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting from the oven, or a beautiful morning snowfall. Slowing down allows us to pause, take a breath, and truly appreciate these simple pleasures.
Nourish Your Well-being:We all know that prioritizing self-care is crucial year-round, but it is especially necessary during the hectic holiday season. Slowing down gives you the opportunity to focus on self-care, rejuvenate, and recharge.
7 Ways to Slow Down During the Holidays
Practice Mindfulness Daily
Start your day with a few moments of mindfulness. Before diving into the hustle and bustle of the season, take a few minutes to breathe deeply, clear your mind, and set a positive intention for the day or think of a few things that you are grateful for. Mindfulness can help you stay present, reduce stress and worry, and increase feelings of positivity. To put mindfulness into practice, try creating a morning ritual that includes meditation, deep breathing exercises, or journaling to set a peaceful tone for your day.
Simplify Your To-Do List
One of the biggest sources of holiday stress is an overwhelming to-do list. Simplify your tasks by setting priorities; make a list of the most important activities and commitments and eliminate those that don’t bring you true joy or fulfillment. Try using a planner to schedule your activities, and be sure to include time for relaxation and self-care in your daily plans.
Embrace the Art of Hygge
Hygge, a Danish concept that emphasizes coziness and well-being, is a perfect way to practice slowing down and appreciating the little things. Practice the art of Hygge by creating a warm and inviting atmosphere at home – light candles, play soft music, and get snuggly under your favorite cozy blanket.
Choose Thoughtful Gifts
Instead of rushing through crowded malls to find the perfect gift, take a thoughtful and sustainable approach to gift-giving this year. Consider homemade gifts, experiences, or supporting local artisans in your town. As hard as it can be, try planning your gift list well in advance, and put extra effort into choosing gifts that reflect the recipient’s true interests, values, and needs.
Disconnect from Technology
In a world that’s constantly connected, it’s more important than ever to take a break from screens during the holiday season. Designate specific times to unplug from technology, focus on the people and experiences around you, and create a “no-screen” rule during family meals and gatherings to allow everyone to fully engage in the present moment.
Make Time for Nature
Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your body and mind, even when it’s cold and snowy! A simple walk in the park or a short day hike can provide the clarity and serenity needed to really slow down and appreciate the beauty of the season.
Give Back to your Community
The holiday season is an excellent time to give back to the community and spread joy to those in need. Volunteering or participating in charity work can be deeply rewarding, and is a great way to bond with your community, give back, and help you appreciate the true spirit of the season, all at the same time.
Slowing down during the holiday season is a conscious choice that we must make to embrace the true spirit of the holidays – love, gratitude, and togetherness. So, this year, as the snow falls and the lights twinkle, make it a point to slow down and savor the magic of the holidays. In doing so, you’ll not only enhance your own well-being, but also create a more meaningful and memorable holiday experience for you and the people you love.
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