Many of us spend the final weeks of the year in a whirlwind of plans, often leading to stress.  And after shouting “Happy New Year!”, we let out a long sigh, in an attempt to release the stress from the previous year.  We take a deep breath, and hope to breathe in a new sense of purpose, balance, and joy.  

Some of us make new year’s resolutions, and join a gym, or throw out all the crappy food from the pantry.  While others write down goals, hopes, and dreams for the coming year.

Most years, this is my pattern, too.  I try to “get through” the holidays, and then regroup in January.  But this December, I did things a little out of order.  I still bought Christmas presents for my loved ones, attended holiday gatherings, and watched endless Christmas movies while wrapping gifts.  But just when my busy month was getting started, and I began feeling anxiety between sips of eggnog, I made a conscious decision to carve out daily me time.  

I decided that no matter how busy I felt, no matter how many household chores were still undone, and no matter how many texts and emails I needed to return, I would still take time for myself each day.  Not a spa day, or a luxurious afternoon enjoying a good book and mocha at my favorite coffee shop, but 30 to 45 minutes of outdoor activity all by myself.  

At first, this decision felt like another task that needed to be completed.  And it was not without complications.  Since I have small children, I had to ask my husband or parents or friends to watch my kids for my outdoor time, but it was such a short amount of time that everybody was on board.  

The first day I arrived home from my brisk 3 mile walk, panting and out of breath, but with renewed energy to conquer my to do list.

Once several feet of snow had dumped on our little mountain town, my daily walks turned into pleasant loops around the local ski trails.  When I returned home, my cheeks were the sorest part of my body (upper, not lower) from 45 minutes of involuntary smiling.  My busy mind, often difficult to quiet at night and during yoga class, was filled with a simple, “Step, Glide.  Step, Glide. Step, Glide.” as my skis followed the neatly groomed parallel white tracks.

Sleeping Lady

Photo Description: Scenic picture of ski trail surrounded by snow-capped trees and blue sky

As the holiday season continued, I found the usual holiday headaches replaced with a calm inner peace.  

My shopping lists were safe at home, along with 4 loads of dirty laundry, but the crisp winter air against my face pulled my attention to the present.  The pristine frozen river to the right of me, and the towering pine trees flocked with snow all around me, captivated each moment and my mind remained quiet.

And I smiled like an idiot because I felt happy and content.  Not the kind of fleeting happiness of a decadent hot fudge sundae, providing a short high as blood sugar spikes only to drop sharply a short time later.  But the kind of happiness that permeates through the day and carries into the evening chaos of cranky children and bedtime routines.

While the holiday season still flew by, the whirlwind seemed to dance around me and I never felt caught in it.  I enjoyed the time with my family and friends, and when I exclaimed, “Happy New Year!” , my words were not followed by a heavy sigh.  

I share this joy not to brag about inner peace, or to claim I have it all figured out, but to remind myself, and others, that the simple moments we choose for ourselves can impact an entire day, or season.

I know I’m not alone in my desire to live in the present and enjoy each moment.  I want to hear from our readers! What are some ways you stay calm during the holidays and throughout the year? Deep Breathing? Meditation? Hot toddies?  Please share a comment.

 

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12 thoughts on “‘Twas the Season

  1. Nicely written and a great reminder! With so many endless responsibilities, it’s easy to slip into the mode of having to get it all done, which is unattainable. We have to take time out for ourselves.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul! I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! I hope you and Annamaria had a lovely holiday season.

      Jenelle

  2. Thanks Genevieve! Yes, any sort of alone time brings me calmness as well.

    Happy New Year!

    Jenelle

  3. I choose do do Bikram Yoga 3-4 times a week! My goal is to stay limber, healthy and vibrant as I age! I love how I feel after each 90 minute class…exhausted in a way that I know I have worked every inch of my body inside and out! Joy in what may body can do if I am willing! A zest for life and a smile on my face!

    • And that is why you are aging so gracefully! A hot yoga studio just opened near my house, so thinking I might try it after ski season is over….thanks for the inspiration!

  4. My initial response is “I don’t have time” or “There’s no way”…and yet…my children are now old enough to take care of themselves if I walk for 30 minutes…and even though I don’t drive, I could easily walk a block to our clubhouse and use the treadmill if the snow is too deep. Slowly, my excuses are melting away. It is not about “Not having time” so much as “not making/taking time”….

    That said, nothing prepares me for daily life or holiday madness better than if I spend time in God’s word and praying every day. Maybe that sounds trite or formulaic, however, whether a new Christian, or walking with Jesus forever, it still rings true. This daily practice centers me. If I skip it to get that laundry loaded or the mail sorted, the stress begins to show up and affect the way I treat others.
    I will make time.
    Thanks for encouraging us
    Tracey Westphal

    • Thank you, Tracey! You are so encouraging and I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts and love for God!

      Jenelle

  5. As I was reading “Step, Glide. Step, Glide. Step, Glide,” I could practically hear nothing but the sound of skis along the trail and it felt so soothing. The photo helped to solidify the picture in my imagination. This is a excellent advice and a reminder to live each day in the present.

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