Well hello December! 2018 seems to have been a big year for so many people- myself included. A new beautiful baby, adventures around the world (for both work and pleasure!), the continual growth and expansion of Escape Haven, and the exciting launch of our new sister company The Palm Tree House. 2018 feels like a year where many new foundations have been set and seeds have been planted, and as we shuffle towards the new year ahead, 2019 feels like an exciting year of evolution and solidification.
What stretches out between now and then, is the imminent holiday season. This period of the year evokes a myriad host of emotions in every individual. While the season can indeed be merry and jolly and looked forward to with eagerness, for others, the holidays can bring melancholy, perhaps sadness, isolation, and commonly, especially for us women- stress!
Being surrounded by our loved ones can be both comforting and oftentimes, challenging. Our family can bring up powerful reflections and perhaps trigger old wounds that we haven’t entirely dealt with. There is the stress of hosting people in your home, purchasing presents, being a mediator, racing about to fill obligations, meeting deadlines, appeasing the people around us, and for the perfectionists out there, trying to make sure that everything flows as smoothly as humanly possible.
Now, before you go running for the hills, we have some suggestion to help you ease through the holiday season with miraculous calmness and surety.
While stress can feel entirely overwhelming and inescapable, you may be surprised to know that it can often be tamed as quickly as it can escalate. Some of the most powerful ways to approach stress are actually incredibly simple, and can be done anywhere, anytime. Many of these techniques are woven through our retreat program to enable and empower women to find balance and clarity when they return home from their time with us here at Escape Haven. Look forward to the holiday season this year with these tips tucked into your toolbelt.
- Take a moment to breathe
One of the most effective ways to take back the reins when stress is in control, is to come back into your body with the breath. We have lost of the art of breathing properly. Our breathing is more often than not, caught in our chest, rather than deep in our belly. Shallow breathing intensifies stress and amplifies anxiety. Simply taking a moment to drop into your breath and bring it back down into your belly can help you release this tension and find calmness and balance. No matter where you are and how much is going on around you, you can always take five big deep slow belly breaths. Whether you’re sitting at the Christmas dinner table or waiting in line at the store with an armful of last minute gifts- you can change your entire state of being just by letting go, checking in, and coming back to a place of stillness with your breath.
- Practice gratitude
The power of gratitude really is quite astounding. This very simple practice can transform your whole mood and outlook on a situation. As many ‘enlightened’ scholars say, we cannot always control what goes on around us, but we can control how we react and respond to these circumstances and situations. If emotional triggers and stress arise over the holiday season, see if you can turn it around and find something to be grateful for. If an event or person becomes overwhelming, see if you can find a way to be grateful for the lesson you are being provided with. Once we switch our mindset into a place of thankfulness, it is incredible to see how our energy follows suit. Rather than looking at the glass half empty, we begin to see fullness, abundance, beauty and magic everywhere. Skeptical?! Give it a try and see how it feels.
- Practice acceptance and forgiveness
Holding onto negative emotions such as anger, guilt or resentment is very debilitating. Addressing and letting go of these emotions isn’t always easy, yet it is incredibly freeing. The holiday season often requires us to be around people or in places that we don’t feel entirely comfortable with. Even the most civilised families have fall outs. Our close friends and family offer us the deepest reflection of ourselves, and that isn’t always enjoyable or inviting. Accepting that we are all different, and that we all have unique qualities, can help us remain non judgemental and compassionate. Sometimes swallowing our pride and reaching out an olive branch can be one of the best decisions we can make and frees us up to be better versions of ourselves.
- Take time out for you
The holiday season can often look like our daily chalkboard schedule on retreat (if you have been on retreat with us- you’ll know what that means!). Make sure you schedule in some YOU time over the holidays. As we say over and over again at Escape Haven- filling up your own cup enables you to give more to those around you. Gifting yourself even 10, 20 or 30 minutes a day over this season can give you the power to approach anything with a level head and keep stress levels at bay. Perhaps this means setting your alarm a little earlier and enjoying a meditation or yoga practice before the day begins in earnest. Maybe this means scheduling an hour for a massage or manicure. A quiet cup of tea, a walk in nature, a warm bath or something else that you know lights you up and fills up your cup- make time for these things. Remember that while the season is often filled with obligations, you always have the power to choose what is right for you. The season of giving also means nourishing yourself too.
- Be prepared and organised
Stress usually goes hand in hand with feeling overwhelmed. Being prepared and organised can help us to avoid shifting into overdrive and being reactive rather than proactive. Make yourself a timeline, create a to-do list, use a diary or a handy app so that you can free up your mental space and feel in control. Don’t forget you can always ask for help too. If friends or family offer to bring along a dish, mind the kids or fold the laundry, kindly accept. If people want to pitch in and assist you, be gracious and accept these proposals! Having a clear idea of what is on your plate can enable you to plan accordingly and enjoy the season. Shopping for presents, entertaining friends, decorating the home- when we do such activities with plenty of space and mindfulness, they are enjoyable. When we are rushing around last minute, they quickly lose their appeal!
We hope these simple suggestions will have you launching into December with a newfound confidence and positivity.
If the idea of an escape is still far more alluring- we do have a few spaces left in our December retreat weeks! And in the spirit of giving, we also have some special promotions running over this period. For more information, get in touch with us here to secure your place!
Escape Haven Bali Retreat, supporting women on year making wellness experiences.
We invite you to come and experience for yourself our award winning Bali retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and shrug off all the roles that you wear and all the balls you juggle in your busy life, we’d love to pamper you. From transformational yoga and meditation classes, to exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness in our tropical gardens to restorative healing and pampering sessions, how much or little you do is all up to you.