Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday - buy now, save more, don't miss, last chance, hurry hurry hurry!
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling totally overwhelmed about the holiday season already, and its not even December! We hosted Thanksgiving this year, which is always so nice, but it comes with a lot of work, prep and clean up. Plus, the children were all home from school (even the college kid!), the laundry never stops and the dogs suddenly got diarrhea. And when it's over and I wake the following day, the emails came in fast and furious about all the deals I NEEDED to take advantage of, or the donations I NEEDED to drop off, or the businesses I NEEDED to support. Don't get me wrong - I WANT the deals, WANT to donate and WANT to support small businesses. But can't it wait a few days?!
Being a small business owner myself, I'm also feeling the pressure from the other side. I SHOULD be marketing/posting/commenting, SHOULD be making online flyers for my own sales, SHOULD be thinking of the services I can provide to my community and SHOULD be planning my business goals before the year-end.
But I just can't do it.
Not right now.
I need a few days to decompress. Time to reflect on how lovely it was to have all my children under my roof again, to have my family at my dinner table, to think about the loved ones who weren't there, to enjoy my friends' laughter around the firepit over the long weekend.
When things get overwhelming, I find my peace in the garden and in nature. There are so many studies out there that prove spending time in nature helps reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and rumination. And you can spend as little as 5-10 minutes to make a difference!
Here are a few ways I find a few moments of peace:
1. Watching the leaves fall.
If you live in a climate where the leaves fall or are still falling, you know how peaceful it can be. Follow one leaf all the way to the ground. Then follow another. Don't have falling leaves? Watch the wind rustle the leaves in the trees. Close your eyes and listen to the sound. Breathe.
2. Watching birds fly or at the birdfeeder. Follow their path in the sky. Question where they are going and why. Watch them eat the seeds, fly away and come back a few minutes later. Breathe. On one of my walks last week, I saw a bunch of seagulls flying around in circles - around and around. Their white feathers against the blue sky and their rhythmic rotation was instantly soothing and mesmerizing.
3. Going out into the garden.
REALLY looking at what is growing. What is the shape of the leaf? Are there any flowers blooming? Is the stem straight or bent toward the light? Find the beauty in imperfect and fading plants and flowers. Focussing my attention on the small details will aim my thoughts elsewhere.
4. Smelling the smells of the outside. Taking a deep breath in through my nose and noticing the smells around me. In my yard I can smell the leaves on the ground, a distant fire smoke and the cold (ok, so cold doesn't really have a smell, but it's still filling my nose!).
I close my eyes and take a deep breath in. I can hear dogs barking, the truck driving down my street, the birds chattering in the trees, leaves rustling, children playing.
Sometimes I'll spend only a few minutes outside and other times, I can get lost out there for hours. Either way, by the time I come back inside, I feel somehow lighter and ready to tackle my neverending to-do list. The holiday season is always such a busy time of year and I need to remind myself to take a breath of fresh air every once in a while. I need to remind myself of what I know I need - not what I'm told I need. I need to remind myself to take things one breath at a time.