What do you think is the busiest time of year for you? (You might be thinking, “I’m always busy”—which is totally valid.) But we’re willing to bet that the weeks leading up to the holidays are one of the busiest ever. In fact, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association:
- up to 85 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,”
- 76 percent are stressed by feeling they have a “lack of money,”
- and 70 percent stress over the “pressure of gifting.”
(By the way, if you’re already feeling stressed or you know that you might be when the holiday season approaches, check out our blog post on self care during the holidays. Or, if a concrete holiday checklist gives you peace of mind, here are 6 things to do now to prepare for the holidays.)
With a few articles on having stress-free holidays already in our blog arsenal, it’s clear that this time of year can be crazy, busy, and fast. It’s important to nurture your mental health during this time and make sure life doesn’t get away from you too much. Keep reading for 5 ways to slow down and enjoy life more.
1. Go outside to slow down and enjoy life more
Not all life’s problems can be solved by being in nature, but a lot of them can improve by doing so. Something about being outside encourages us to acknowledge our surroundings and get in touch with our senses. The sights, smells, and sounds of nature can work wonders for escaping the blur of a busy time and simply relaxing into the moment.
2. Know that it’s okay to say no
Any people pleasers out there? We know how hard it can be to say no to family and friends’ requests, event invites, or other time-consuming things. But, if you’re not careful, you can overcommit yourself in an already busy season—and you’ll be more likely to burn out. Avoid this by learning to put strong boundaries in place. Only say yes to things when you know it’s an “absolutely” rather than an “I guess.”
3. Turn off the screens
Ever wonder how time seems to fly when we mindlessly scroll through our phones? Before we know it, two hours have passed, and now we’re even more stressed because we didn’t do the things we planned on doing.
We often view screen time as a treat or form of stress relief, and while it can be when used in moderation, we tend to overindulge when we’re stressed. Avoid this “tech burnout” by turning off your screens. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
- Leave your phone in a designated area for a few hours and don’t look at it.
- Tell loved ones in advance to call you if they need you, as you won’t be texting or instant messaging for the day.
- Instead of watching TV, listen to music or a podcast while you do other tasks.
4. Write down—or say—your thoughts
Overthinking and overanalyzing are common side effects of feeling stressed out or being in a busy season. When it’s time to slow down and enjoy life more, create an outlet for the jumbled thoughts in your head by journaling them out. Oftentimes, it helps to gain a greater semblance of sanity when we put our thoughts on paper.
Similarly, you can also create an audio entry by recording a voice note on your phone. Simply get out what you need to say and feel the stress melt away.
5. Spend time with loved ones that relieve stress
Take a deep breath and slow down with loved ones in your life. This, of course, will differ for people based on personality. For example, if you’re an extrovert, you might consider meeting close friends you haven’t seen in a while at a coffee shop or attending a game night. On the other hand, an introvert might choose to unwind with just one other person or even cuddle up with a pet.
Whatever you choose, make sure whoever you’re spending time with doesn’t add to your stress—rather, they help you feel a sense of calm and enjoyment.
With these simple tips, a busy season won’t get you down. This time of year is filled with some of the greatest holidays and opportunities to connect with our most special people. So if you find that time is slipping away from you and you feel stress start to creep in, just look back at these 5 ways to slow down and enjoy life more.