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Once the calendar flips to December, it seems like there are obligations nearly every day through the end of the year — at least for me. The month is filled with festive and joyful things (holiday events! family gatherings! celebrations!) and while I love attending and participating, I often find myself exhausted from all the running around.

Over time, I’ve learned that taking a few moments of quiet during my days helps me to recharge and feel better equipped to enjoy all that the season brings. Making those moments of downtime actually happen, though? I have to be intentional about planning for them in my schedule or they may get missed.

Managing our energy and time can be tricky this time of year, which is why many productivity, life coaching, and mental health experts agree that finding even small ways to nurture a bit of calm can make a difference in our well-being.

“I encourage people to look at how we benefit from nonjudgmentally accepting how our season unfolds for us,” says Barbara Powell, MA, NBC-HWC, holistic coach with Life Time Mind. “Some may be with or without family; conversations may be joy-filled or uncomfortable; there may be lots on our calendar or not much at all; and we may experience displays of love or times of grief.

“One of my favorite phrases to remember is, ‘This is it,’” Powell continues. “As in, this is life, we are here, and life comes with all kinds of experiences: busyness, chaotic events, family and friends, and so on. I love to remind my clients to pay attention to their minds and bodies during heightened seasons so they can pick up on when they might need a simple reset. This is how we regulate our nervous system.”

Powell shares five simple ways to reset and experience a sense of calm, no matter what the season holds for you.

1. Savor your senses.

“Use your senses as a way to experience delight in the unfolding of the season,” says Powell. “Linger on the tastes, smells, sights, sensations, and sounds around you. Let yourself be immersed in the moment you’re in without the distraction of devices. These moments are fleeting, after all!”

2. Notice the good.

“Each day, my partner and I share three good things at the end of our day,” explains Powell. “This gives a positive ending to whatever kind of day we had. When we purposefully look for the good — a compliment, a blossoming friendship, a feeling, etc. — we tend to see more of it in the days to follow.”

3. Move your body.

“Better yet, move with others!” suggests Powell. “Our nervous systems regulate and react to each other’s energy and tend to feel better when we’re in good company. Take a yoga class, go for a group run, or attend a GTX class over the lunch hour with colleagues. The connection between movement and mental health is powerful.”

4. Slow down.

“We all need different amounts of quiet, space, and alone time, so it’s important to try to meet your personal needs,” says Powell. “Allowing ourselves to be quiet amid a busy season can give us the exhale we just might need. Meditation or journaling are great places to start.” (Learn more: “How Do I Rest — Really?”)

5. Experience childlike joy.

“What did you love to do as a kid — during the holidays or otherwise?” poses Powell. “Was there a favorite toy or experience you had? Bring that back to life and allow yourself the joy of play! We are never too old to still love what we did in childhood.”

Callie Chase
Callie Fredrickson

Callie Fredrickson is a content editor at Life Time.

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