For many years, I’ve spent Thanksgiving week on an isolated island 25 miles out in the ocean. Most years, I went alone, walking on the beach, writing, reading, and gazing at the stars. Some years family and friends joined me, with much love and laughter, and no little stress at being an introvert in a sea of extroverts.
Here are some things I learned to do while surrounded by too many people during the holidays:
- Breathe. Long, slow, deep breaths. This is the fastest way to relieve anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia.
- Take lots of showers. You can be alone there, right? Imagine you are washing all the energy your body and spirit have absorbed down the drain.
- Get up earlier than everyone else. Give yourself a little time before the busyness of the day begins to center yourself, align your chakras and meditate.
- Go to bed after everyone else. Give yourself a little time before you fall asleep to release the stress of the day. Offer up gratitude for the blessings you received.
- Go for walks alone. Getting out in nature is a sure cure!
- Offer to clean the kitchen. You can count on being alone.
- Take time during the day to write – your thoughts, your feelings, and your gratitude. Writing down things you’re grateful for changes the way we feel about what we can’t control.
- Don’t be responsible for others’ feelings and thoughts. They aren’t yours, so don’t take them on.
- Stay in the moment. Take mental snapshots of the joyful moments, knowing that each one is special and unique, and will never come again in exactly the same way.
- Remind yourself repeatedly that the holiday lasts for a finite amount of time. You can get through it!
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