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The Importance of Being Still

Hello love!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was full of great food, time with family, and an exciting football game to watch (go Tigers!). It's always fun to celebrate a holiday, especially one that reminds us of what we have been blessed with in life. But for a lot of people, Thanksgiving is more than just food and family time together; it's the precursor for all the wintery holidays coming up that are about hope and gift giving and overall merriment.

Personally, Christmastime is my favorite time of year.

I love seeing all the decorations and lights both in my own home and in the world around me. I enjoy the cold weather that's perfectly paired with soft scarves and hot chocolate. And coming up with gift ideas for friends and family that I know they'll love (or at least get an inside joke reference out of), just builds anticipation for December 25th!

Truly, the Holiday Season is one of the most fun times of the year.

And also the most busy.

It's like a switch goes off the moment that last bite of turkey is eaten. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday parties, travel plans, failed attempts at getting better at gift-wrapping and a queue of the perfect wintery activities seem to bombard us all at once. Sometimes December can feel like a blurry sped-up montage interspersed with scenes from a Hallmark movie or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

(Usually, it's Christmas Vacation).

It's exhausting. It's exciting. It makes for life-long memories that you'll think of with laughter and tears and bittersweet nostalgia.

But I've noticed that a lot of people don't seem to experience their December activities in the moment. We fondly recall them after the fact, usually with a more glowing picture-perfect lens than is actually realistic.

In our efforts to create the *Ultimate Holiday Season*, we forget to actually just live and be.

We want everything to be perfect, for our loved ones and for ourselves, and that's way understandable. The holidays are supposed to be a break from reality. They're supposed to be spent with the people (and pets) we care about. But too often we get swept up in the details, spend the entire time stressing, and the next thing we know, the holiday is over.

We've forgotten how to be still.

Not just in the holidays, but just in life itself. We pack our schedules to the point of bursting, spend our free time scrolling and consuming countless, quick bits of content, and still panic about all the things we didn't get done. And we don't even get rest during sleep! According to the U.S. News & World Report, during a survey of 1,200 American adults about their sleep habits "Nearly half (43%) of survey respondents said they’ve experienced insomnia this year".

The article goes on to say the lack of sleep is caused by stressors about topics such as inflation, gun violence, climate change, and more. Another culprit is bad sleep habits such as going to bed at different times, falling asleep with electronic devices in the room, and pulling all-nighters.

We've gotten so used to the idea of being constantly busy and moving that we can't even sleep regularly. Yikes.

Being productive isn't bad, and working hard in your career or in your personal life is great. We were designed to make and do things, absolutely. But we were also designed to rest. To pause and take a day of being still.

So make a point-- especially during the holidays-- to carve out moments of being still throughout your day. Let your body, mind, and soul take a breather and just exist. Look at this wild, amazing world we live in and the strong, beautiful body you have, and let that be enough.

You-- just you, not your work or 'busyness'-- is enough.

Some of the ways I find stillness is through meditation, journaling, and spending time in nature. Others do breathing exercises, listen to soft music or nature sounds, and practice mindfulness through mantras and feelings work. Regardless of what you do, ensure you have some stillness by shutting off all the distracting outside noise. Put your phone on airplane mode. Set app and TV limits. Make a commitment to yourself to regularly check in with your body and emotions.

We can't always be moving, moving, moving. Not unless we want to burn out.

We're human beings. Not sharks.

Most of the winter holidays, from Christmas to Hanukkah to Yule, encourage us to reflect on the fruits of our labors and of humanity's perseverance. In the coldest, darkest time of the year, we tell our stories that focus on light and hope entering the world, that winter has ended before and will end again. And in the meantime, we can rest.

So this holiday season, I encourage you to allow yourself to rest. Take time to be still, to breathe in the life you have. Trust that-- just as winter will end-- our trials and stressors will, too. And in the meantime, keep your eyes on the light, on the promise of hope, and just be.

Love y'all!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace, there will be no end."--Isaiah 9:6-7a

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."-- Exodus 14:14

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