The end of the year is for consolidation and contemplation. It’s also for rest and relaxation, but that’s hard to do if we still have lots on our minds. Closing out the year strong is important so we can allow our bodies and minds to fully recover in preparation for what’s to come. Easier said than done, I know, which is why I’m sharing four of my favorite tips from my newest book, The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People, on how to make room for recharging your batteries during the hectic holiday season.
1. Close out big items.
Before Dec 21, it’s ideal to push hard and close out what’s still on your mind. The winter solstice is a great deadline to call it for the year. Make a plan to handle the biggest to-do’s in the morning and stay on them until they’re done to your satisfaction. You’ll feel less motivated to do anything this time of year, so let’s focus on the high-priority items that need to be done first. The payload is the down-time where you can have a clear mind to relax and recharge after the 21st. Stay focused on completing the tasks so they don’t haunt you while you’re trying to get some personal time.
2. Downshift into better sleep.
You’ll feel drowsy earlier in the evening as the year winds down. Go with it. Try to finish dinner by 7 pm and wind down with less lights and noises in the house. Aim to shut down by 9 pm, if you can. Your body is asking for it and, as you can already feel it’s hard to muster energy during the days right now. Get the added rest—you’ve earned it. And let go of the guilt. This is the time of year where recovery is key. If you don’t get it now, then when?
3. Reset your energy.
Roots, tubers, stews, and broths are amazing this time of year. These foods are easier to digest and offer tons of nutrition to your cells. Now that you’re sleeping more, eat like you’re sick and give your body a chance to catch up and clean out some cobwebs. This will help you have more energy throughout the day and honor what your body is asking for.
4. Get clear on your path.
The new year is around the corner. Don’t act surprised. Think through what you need to wrap up this year and do that exclusively in the mornings. Try to allocate an hour a day toward future pacing and planning for the next year later in the day. Think about how this year went and where you may be able to be more efficient. Where did you waste time and squander resources? How can you do things differently next year and get your intended results with less friction? You have a chance to be a better version of you next year. What do you need to do to get there? Who do you need to become to allow for it?