Just as our bodies can take quite the toll during the holiday season, our minds are also handling a great deal of stress. As if our lives weren’t busy enough to begin with we now have to shop for presents, plan for and attend holiday parties, bake Christmas cookies, and try to keep our cool throughout all of this mayhem! No matter how many years we’ve done it, this time of year is never easy.

Here are some simple measures you can take to keep calm and carry on!

1. Take a moment to write down 10 things you are grateful for. It is easy to go through life, paying more attention to minor matters and daily stressors than recognizing our strengths and privileges. We are all guilty of taking things for granted. However, taking time to articulate our gratitude can distract us from daily stress and increase our overall happiness. (A great website to look at is Tiny Buddha)

2. More generally speaking, take a few moments just to write. Write anything that comes to mind whether it is what is currently stressing you out, upcoming events you are excited for, or song lyrics you are loving right now. Getting your thoughts out on paper is one of the easiest, cheapest forms of therapy.

3. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile. You know, those friends whom we often have to ignore their calls because we are too busy for a long conversation. Sometimes, some good old reminiscing is just what we need to slow down the time.

4. Make a homemade gift for someone. Pinterest is chock full of ‘DIY’ ideas. Still stuck? Search melted crayon art, natural room scent jars, and pressed flower gifts. Don’t forget about mix tapes (er, I mean, Spotify playlists), framing photographs, and making personalized calendars.

5. Take a yoga class. If you are new to yoga, there are plenty of free trials to utilize throughout the San Diego area to find one you like. Wear comfortable clothes, a headband, and bring a yoga mat. From then on, it’s as simple as this: B R E A T H E.

While it may be easy to get lost in the madness, try not to forget the most important thing about the holiday season: spending quality time with family and friends and feeling grateful for the life that you have. And remember that every single person is just as stressed as you are. Committing random acts of kindness counts the most in times like these. Throw a quarter in someone’s expired parking meter, hold the door for the person behind you, or smile at a stranger.

With a healthy body and a healthy mind, we will cruise through the rest of the year with ease and enjoy this time the way it is supposed to be enjoyed!

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” -Swami Sivananda

Stay Tuned: A Green Recipe for a Green Christmas!