With the holidays here, I find myself becoming a bit more anxious.
My spouse and I have to coordinate work schedules to match kids’ school schedules. We have travel plans to visit our relatives in another state which requires detailed preparation. Let’s not forget about shopping within budget, staying active and trying to eat healthy among parties and gatherings. My shoulders are slumping and my belly is aching now just imagining how to accomplish it all.
What can I do to help myself and my family be more stress-free and stay motivated during this busy time of year?
There are several easy ways to find means of inspiration and strength from within; these methods require minimal preparation or even no tools at all. Through words, music, movement, charity and gratitude, individuals like me can enjoy each day more successfully.
Here are a few simple ways to be inspired and stress-free every day:
1. Read a Quote.
I keep a positive book of quotes in my bathroom. I have a calendar full of enriching expressions near my office desk. Typically I start the day with an optimistic attitude by reading words that offer wisdom and value. A few words from a proven leader, perhaps one who came from the most humble beginnings yet triumphed, can put a whole new perspective on the challenges of the day. Often I develop a helpful statement to complete a daunting task. I repeat the can-do phrase over in my head to make the chore easier to manage and shout victory when it’s finished.
2. Play a Song.
Music can be very uplifting. Find that tune that speaks to the soul and sing it loudly. Whether it’s Beethoven, a Disney film soundtrack or Beyonce’ playing in the ear does not matter. Singing songs help me feel better, encouraging me to get up and dance. Often the lyrics cause an instant smile or take me back to a special memory. I keep a playlist of favorite music on hand in my music devices. In addition, I have programmed stations in the car and streaming through the web while on the computer for easy access to an instant-mood lifter.
3. Jump and Stretch.
Feeling hungry, tired or stressed? When this happens to me, I take a deep breath. I stand up and stretch. Or perhaps I sit down and squat. Often I will do a few jumps at my desk. I challenge myself to wake up early about four times per week to do yoga, cardio or other 30-minute workout. But on days that I’m pressed for time, I’ll later force myself to just raise the arms or touch the toes for a few repeats. Sometimes I have my children involved by having them pretend to climb a mountain or run a race for one minute or two. A gym isn’t needed. No specific time length is required. Even the simplest movement can re-energize you and result in a boost of endorphins. Complete ten jumping jacks; then face the next item on the to-do list with renewed force.
4. Find a Cause.
Helping others is often the best source of encouragement. Pay attention to local and world happenings to determine how to best aid. Small acts of kindness go a long way. Money doesn’t have to be the main factor. One year my oldest daughter and I wrote a letter to a soldier overseas. Recently I made chili and a dessert to welcome a new neighbor. My friend tries to regularly crochet hats for cancer patients who are losing hair. Small acts like this that can be done in just a day’s time can make a huge impact on one person’s life. Volunteering in a shelter or a school can be a way to donate time instead of talent. Think of the passions inside and how you can channel those into a cause that will benefit and inspire others.
5. Have Gratitude.
Make a list of things in which to be thankful. Even during the darkest days, there is always a reason to have gratitude. I ask my children every night to tell me the best things about their day; because no matter what, there is always a good thing to keep in mind. Remember that positive point. Write it down physically or simply make a mental note in the brain. Reasons behind the appreciation do not matter; just having them is what counts. Revealing gratitude leads to insight and enthusiasm that will make each day a better, less nerve-racking one.
Routines can be hectic, especially around the holidays. To feel more invigorated and less stressed, individuals can channel inspiration by reading quotes, listening to music, performing simple exercises, giving to charity and showing gratitude. Through these small acts, we can inspire ourselves and others on a daily basis.