The holidays can be stressful. Don’t believe me? Go rewatch any classic holiday movie. During these times, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or burdened by seasonal expectations and winter chaos. To make matters worse, people’s homes have now become a central ground for basically everything. In the words of Bridgid Coulter, founder of Blackbird Collective, ‘the sanctuary of the home has been violated’ due to Covid-19. Natural separation between spouses? Forget about it. Distance between bedroom and office? Non-existent. THIS IS MADNESS, you say. Not to fret dear reader, we understand your pain. Below we outline five ways to help alleviate holiday stress.
1) Get out of the house.
Not flippantly or irresponsibly, of course. But get outside, go for a walk, wear six masks, practice social distancing, and visit some new and novel establishments that are open during this time (within all acceptable guidelines). To restore boundaries, find new spaces to clear your head and gain perspective. At this junction, we could talk about how flexible workspace helps with this problem, but we’re not going to bore you with that. The key is to seek out new spaces to help you regain peace of mind.
2) Bake cookies.
Two of our members gifted us with marshmallow chocolate chip (I think) cookies this morning. They shared the joy they feel when baking during this oh-so-festive season. Let’s think about the ‘why’: scents that are to die for, tackling a singular task, the joy of creating something, aesthetic pleasure, working with your hands, going with the flow, an excuse for listening to Carrie Underwood’s new album, and most importantly, eating all the cookies. If ever there was a cure for stress, this is it. Flex those cookie muscles.
3) Get yourself a plan!
I almost hate myself for writing that. Shouldn’t the holidays be about relaxing and not planning? I get you. I. Get. You. But here’s the thing. What if I suggested that having a plan gives you the freedom to let you relax and resist being sucked into the cheerful vortex of the holiday season? Let me elaborate. When was the last time you felt overwhelmed? For me, it was 30 minutes ago as I wondered what to write this blog about. How did I move past this state? Well, I decided on a topic, I allocated a timeframe to write it, and I let go of the outcome. Of course, I also allowed some flexibility in the plan to account for unexpected challenges and things taking longer than anticipated. This last point I think is key. In making a plan, allow for flexibility. Things usually take longer than expected, and if you’re even mildly neurotic like me, you beat yourself up for not meeting micro-deadlines. So leave some room to plan and be flexible, and watch as you drop right into the flow of things.
4) Stop walking, stop baking cookies, stick to your plan, and go work out!
What better way to relieve stress during this 2020 holiday season than to go for a good old fashioned run. And by a run, I obviously mean the category of getting your heart rate up and loosening up those muscles. Any kinesiology student and fourth-grade teacher will tell you the importance of stretching before working out. What’s another word for stretching? That’s right: flexible! You spend all of your time hunched over at your desk. Time to push those shoulders back, sit up straight, touch your toes, and loosen up that body, baby. Flexible muscles are resilient muscles, and we all need a little bit of resilience during this time.
5) And finally, #5, be grateful.
Stop. Did this article just transform into a self-help book? Yes, but only sort of. You see, even the most jaded of us who have tried out gratitude notice its profound positive effects. It’s like a superpower to look at all of the things that you are rightfully stressed about and put them into perspective. Hey, in the grand scheme of things, maybe it’s true that a little stress never killed anyone. And the fact that we get to enjoy a holiday season at all, maybe that’s something to be thankful for. It might take some mental agility (flexibility?) to get to this place, but I can tell you this – it’s worth it. Be grateful. And be great.
If you weren’t convinced flexibility is important, I’m sure now you are. The holidays are upon us, but stress doesn’t have to consume us. If you are overwhelmed at home and looking for a space to decompress and be productive, of course, feel free to swing by Phase Two. We hope this article has given you some tools you can use to make this festive season a little more festive. Or at the very least, made you laugh.