Silver bells...silver bells...
It's Christmastime in the city!
As Ottawa woke up to its first snowfall yesterday morning, it seemed like everyone was A) making appointments to get their snow tires on and B) realizing that Christmas was just a month away!
And then for some, C kicks in, which sounds very similar to B, but in a different context.
C) Realizing that Christmas is just...a month...away....
It can be overwhelming to think that there's just a month till the biggest holiday of the year.
Shopping. Wrapping. Baking. Parties. Kid's Concerts. Santa Visits. Family.
And for others it can mean or even result in stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness & fear.
There's something to be said for balance over the holiday season, and while it doesn't always seem easy, we've complied a few ideas that can help keep your Christmas spirit up, and your stress level lowered.
1) Stay Active! We aren't saying that you need to hit up bootcamp or the gym every day for the entire month, but hey, if you can squeeze in a cardio session, a brisk walk outside with a friend, or even a workout at home of sorts, by all means, this will keep your heart rate up in a good way! If you have kids, get them involved too. You can have them come up with a great 30 minute workout that you can all do together. Or if a run on the treadmill solo will make you calmer, you are entitled to that time too.
2) Watch Family Favorites! This is something that so many of us love to do! Is there a Christmas movie that warms your heart, or makes you laugh or brings you back to your childhood, watching your favorites can lift your spirit more than you know! (My favorite? Garfield Christmas)
3) Volunteer! You may be thinking "Come on lady, we just talked about being busy, how on earth am I going to find time to volunteer?!" Someone once told me that volunteering is the most rewarding experience they could ever ask for, for themselves and their family. If you can find the time, there are so many great places around our city that you could volunteer at which are completely worthwhile! Between fundraising for the Salvation Army with their Kettle Bell campaign, to Toy Mountain, to homeless shelter, or the food bank, there are definitely many places that you and/or your family could help out at this year. If you're looking for a long term commitment for the new year, the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region are always looking for volunteers!
4) Gift to Others! One of the best things about Christmas is not receiving gifts, but giving gifts to others. Giving gifts to others is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for those you care for or are special to you. You don’t need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars. Remember, it really is the thought that counts and people will appreciate small gifts because it shows you have thought about them. When you give some thought to your gift, your friend or loved one will feel special and loved. This will then flow onto you feeling warm and positive from giving to someone you care about. You could also talk with those around you who you celebrate with an talk about supporting a charity you all believe in rather than exchanging gifts.
5) Appreciate! Taking a moment to sit back with a coffee or hot chocolate in hand, and take in the wonder of the holidays can bring your soul much needed peace. Whenever you have a stressful moment or day, taking time to focus on the good around you will instantly lift your spirits. If this is a Christmas where you've recently experienced a loss, don't worry about trying to make it a perfect holiday. Take your time to grieve your loss and remember them on the holidays.
The joy of the holidays is within your heart, and with mindfulness, you just may be able to feel it all around you.
If you don't already know this, the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region is open 24/7, and that includes every single day over the holidays - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years...our phone lines always remain open. So if you need someone to talk to, we'll be here waiting.
We are wishing you all a happy & joyful month leading up to Christmas!!
*Editor's note: we are aware of the many holidays celebrated around this time period including Hanukkah, Kwanza & those who simply do not celebrate anything. The Distress Centre is non denominational and wishes everyone to enjoy the next month.