As I write this, I am 3 days into knowing that we’ll be moving 10 days before Christmas. After looking for a house for a year, we find one now. I joke with my husband that this is clearly meant to be because the timing is so crazy.
One thing I am deeply aware of is my desire to keep a light heart and easy spirit during this transition, as it is not only a huge thing in and of itself AND it’s happening right before our second child is born, but that it falls during the holidays. I could easily fall down the rabbit hole of stress and miss this season – which is not what I want. It seems that no matter what the circumstances are, it’s helpful to have a cheat sheet for not just getting through the holidays, but loving them.
1: Gratitude – written down. Almost every day I take a few moments in the morning or night to write at least 5 things (and usually many more) that I am grateful for. The act of writing them out forces my brain to pause and all of my attention focuses on that. It’s impossible not to feel better after doing so. The holidays are such a powerful time of year to get present to the gifts around us, and not just the pretty sparkly ones.
2. Spend time in nature. Even if it’s 5 minutes at sunset, a stolen moment under the full moon, or a few minutes before the rest of the house gets up, time silent in nature every day keeps things in perspective. When I have perspective, I am less likely to get wrapped up in the small things that can seem so important and I can be present to what actually matters.
3. Taking time to be with my family. I make sure every day I have time with my daughter that is uninterrupted. I don’t answer the phone (I silence it in fact), I don’t pick up odds and ends, I don’t add things to my to-do list. I just play with her. My husband and I have started to do the same thing: unplugging, not talking about the practical things, not cleaning the kitchen, and just being together, for 5 minutes or 90. Connecting with the people that are my foundation, every day, helps me to remember that it’s the love and joy of being together that make this time of year so special. Having a beautiful holiday table is wonderful, but if I don’t even have our dishes unpacked at Christmas this year , we’ll be OK.
4. Keeping up with my practices, but letting them morph as they need to. Yoga, meditation, writing—whatever they are for you—I turn into someone I don’t want to be when I abandon them all out of “being too busy”. They might shift a lot during the holidays—travel, different schedules, late nights, etc –but if I can stay committed to them in whatever capacity, I reap the rewards tenfold.
It seems that the holidays are a time to just keep doing what works, or create rituals that can carry into the new year. I want my kids to remember the holidays as a time full of laughter and ease, so whatever helps me stay in that space is what I want to do. If you have a list that helps you stay grateful and present through the holidays, please share!
I wish you a beautiful season!
Melanie Lora Meltzer is an actress, mom, and yogi living in Los Angeles. Melanie primarily teaches privately and as an online yoga instructor for MyYogaWorks. Check out her website, blog, or follow Melanie on Twitter or Instagram: @MissMelanieLora.