Candle FlameOn the heels of “No-Shave November” I am declaring this month “De-Stress December.” Who’s with me?

This month I turn 48 and I’ve decided to be radical this holiday season. Instead of ramping up, I’m scaling back and committing to de-stressing this December.

Here is my plan if you’d like to join me:

  1.  I will politely decline all invitations to holiday parties this year. I hope my friends will understand. This year I prefer to light a candle and do some Yin yoga instead of having cocktails and staying up late.
  2. I’m making a green smoothie every morning this month. Getting a mega-dose of organic, fresh phytonutrients in the morning helps start my day off on a healthy foot.
  3. I created a “dump list” of all things I have to do. I then arranged the items by urgency/time sensitivity. I’ve given myself a break and am postponing most of that list to January. Some might call that procrastination. I call it mindful postponing.
  4. I am going to the gym every day in December. Yes. This helps me de-stress I’ve discovered. Some days I do 30 minutes on the elliptical Some days I go to a yoga class. Some days I do some resistance training. Some days I swim. But everyday I am exercising in December.
  5. I delegated holiday decorating to my kids and their friends. I cooked a big meal and had my kids invite friends over. I fed them and then put them to work. I’ll repeat January 2 for the take-down process.
  6. I’m doing ten minutes of simple, gentle yoga every evening before bed followed by ten minutes of meditation. It improves the quality of my sleep.
  7. For the first time in 10 years I’ve declared we are not traveling this December. We are staying home and I plan to spend a lot of time sipping on hot tea by the fire, reading a good book this year.
  8. I’m not sending out Christmas cards this year. Sorry everybody! We’ve got facebook these days that serves as a year round Christmas card of sorts.  That’s where we  share photos of how the kids have grown and  what we’ve been up to all year. No need for the hours of writing and signing and stamping holiday cards this year.
  9. I like to sing. It is very de-stressing for me. So, I’m going to join a holiday choir this year. I’m looking forward to this!
  10. There will only be one gift per family member under our tree this year. I have simplified the gift giving for friends and family this year so there will be no need to go to a shopping mall or spend hours upon hours hunched over rolls of wrapping paper. My gifts to others this year are going to be simple, small and from the heart. Already ordered and delivered. Done.
  11. I will reach out by phone to all family members and closest friends this December and have a meaningful, connective conversation. I want to hear their voices and tell them I love them.
  12. I will hug my kids, snuggle with my husband and love on my animals this December.
  13. I will breathe deeply, fully and consciously throughout each day. I choose to relax, simplify and slow down this December.

I hope you will find ways to de-stress this December too…. May your holiday be restful, relaxed and rejuvenating!