My daughter wrote an amazing post that came out today on Be Your Own Muse that talks about mental health. Her post really got me thinking about all the stress we go through during the holidays.
I shared a little about how I was feeling totally overwhelmed last week here and how I caught up a bit here.
I know, for me, I start feeling overwhelmed when there are a million things I feel I need to do and not enough hours in the day...or energy....to get them all done.
I really, really like things very organized and tidy in my house. When they get messy or disorganized that brings on feelings of stress for me, and my heart starts racing a little. I don't know if this happens to other people, but I do know it happens to me. And it makes me cranky. I know this about myself.
One of the things I try to do to keep that in check is take time each and every morning before work to accomplish at least one chore. By that, I mean one chore in addition to the normal daily morning routine of unloading the dishwasher, showering, making the bed, making my lunch, etc. If I take 15 minutes each morning to accomplish one additional thing it helps keep the chores from piling up and keeps me on track. Less stress = less crankiness.
I also know that I require quiet time. Regular bouts of quality quiet time. I am not one of those people who can just go, go, go and never take a second to breathe. That would flat out drive me over the edge - you'd find me sitting on the floor in a corner of my walk in closet whimpering and talking to myself.
I make sure not to take on more than I can handle. If we have too many invites pouring in I do not feel one bit guilty turning some down - I know my own self and there's no way I can be out more than a few nights per week at social engagements. Our social calendar is quite full as it is and sometimes I just have to put the brakes on so I can have a peaceful night at home. There's nothing wrong with that.
One of my happiest places in my home is my kitchen. I love preparing a nice meal with the music playing in the background and the candles burning while I'm sipping on a glass of wine. That's a good place to be and it tends to calm my soul. Making sure I have a few nights each week just like that keeps me grounded and sane. Relatively speaking, of course!
I also love to read. There's nothing like a good book to take me out of my own mind and shut off all the daily turmoil inside my head. Right now I'm reading a fabulous book by Debbie Macomber called Starry Night.
I just started it on Sunday and I read over half the book that night - I just couldn't put it down. Don't you just love a great book like that? I've been making a point to read Christmas books all month which helps me keep the holiday spirit alive in my heart.
One of the other things that really relaxes me is having a nice hot bath with some aromatic bath salts and a couple of candles flickering nearby. I love the mineral bath salts from Aura Cacia - they have wonderful naturally derived fragrances that really release their scent with the steam and the mineral salts help with sore, aching muscles. Win, win!!
I'm a big fan of aromatherapy and always have been. In addition to the routines I practice to keep my stress in check I will often have a candle burning in the house when I'm puttering around. The scent will change with the seasons or my mood but either way, having something fragrant burning in the house just calms me. If not a candle there may be a stick of incense or some scented oils.
I also use cleaning products during my daily routines that have wonderful scents like lavender, orange clove, or natural pine - I truly believe it makes the daily chores just a little bit easier when there's a bit of aromatherapy involved.
Add some peaceful music and the pups dozing by the fire and all's right in my world.
These are things that help me in my daily world. You have to find your own sweet spot, your own things that help you calm your soul.
And when you find those things, make sure to take the time daily to give your soul what it needs.
It's as important as breathing.