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Behind the festive cheer and bright lights of the holiday season is a fact that almost everyone knows, holiday season can be a stressful time. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress that comes with festivities like last minute errands, Christmas rush, delayed flights, and endless family reunions. Mindfulness during the holidays seems impossible to practice, but here are a few simple mindfulness strategies that you can follow to stay sane amidst any chaos and give you the gift of really enjoying the celebrations with presence.
Mindfulness is an important human ability that allows you to truly be present and aware of what you are and what you are currently doing – without judgment. Practicing mindfulness prevents you from becoming too overwhelmed by what’s happening, and obsessed and anxious about what could happen.
During the holidays, most of us find it difficult to find joy in the now because of the many tasks, responsibilities, emotional investments, and big expectations we have to face. Mindfulness during the holidays not only makes it possible to find happiness in the holidays, it eases both physical and emotional stress, too.
Being mindful is already in you, you just need to access it. With consistent practice, your wealth of mindfulness grows. Here are eight simple mindfulness techniques to consider to achieve holiday mindfulness.
Practice Mindfulness During the Holidays
Gratitude paves the way to becoming mindful. Practicing this trains you to look beyond the misfortunes and focus on the things you’re thankful for. When it’s increased, you can face mishaps with acceptance, grace, and meditation.
The key to practicing gratitude is taking the time to assess each negative situation. Stuck in holiday traffic or in the supermarket line? Take several minutes to ask yourself “What’s the silver lining for this one?” Maybe the traffic is there to help you become more excited for family and friends time. Just remember, most people would love to spend the holidays with their family members and loved ones so be little extra grateful towards all the people involved in helping you get you off to your holiday, or catering your Christmas feast at home. Sure, they might be getting paid more to work during the holiday season, but hey, at the end of the day, they’re also trying to take care of themselves and their loved ones, just like you are.
Gratitude increases your awareness that there are lessons in every challenge and reminds you that you shouldn’t spend all your time complaining!
With grand holiday celebrations come big expectations. We expect everything to be perfect; we make sure guests will love the gifts; we hope to receive gifts as nice as what we’ve prepared. The big problem comes when these expectations are not met, it can create conflict and disappointment.
Practice mindfulness by setting healthy, realistic expectations and communicating it to the people around you. If things don’t turn out the way you want them to be, use one of the top mindfulness strategies – plan your next steps without anger and resistance.
Instead of buying a physical gift which is wrapped in layers and layers of packaging. Consider gifting experiences, not only are they greener, but they’re usually easier to buy last minute so it takes the stress away from almost accidentally leaving someone out. A massage, meditation class, energy healing session or even an insightful numerology consultation to kickstart someone’s 2020 in the right direction could be of the most thoughtful presents (for presence) someone could receive!
Be Mindful with Food
Thanksgiving, Christmas dinners, and New Year’s Eve parties are synonymous with feasts. During holiday season, it’s not new to feel extremely dissatisfied, disappointed, and guilty about our habits with food. How many times have you felt dread that the celebrations are taking you further away from your fitness goals? How many times have you felt frustration just because you can’t stop yourself from eating the holiday goodies?
When you focus on negative thoughts, you miss the chance to truly enjoy how special the food is.
Fortunately, you can use mindfulness for your eating habits. Instead of munching down a cookie in 2 seconds, take the time to observe and savor its flavors. Take a small bite and relish in its textures and sensation. Check out my previous post about “A Moment of Gratitude for Food” for some more guidance.
Instead of beating yourself up because you can’t stop binge eating, spend some time to assess what causes you to overeat – are you lonely, stressed, or exhausted? Mindfully identifying what triggers binge eating can help you deal with holiday food the healthy way.
Truly Listen and Let Go of Judgments
We all approach holidays differently. Some may welcome the celebrations with heavy emotional burdens on their shoulders like loss, anger, and grief. People may inevitably open up to you, so, how do you deal with big emotions?
Truly listen and let go of judgments.
The beauty of mindful listening is it allows you to hear the real message the speaker wants to convey to you. This kind of listening increases your empathy and value for the conversation. Someone opening up no longer is a burden – you begin to see them as humans who deserve your love.
To help you achieve mindful listening, turn off overwhelming distractions. Give yourself time to clear your mind and prepare your emotions. Meditate to clear your mind off clutter so you can fully take in the thoughts and feelings of people you’re talking to. Or if you don’t have time to meditate, rub your hands so they become warm, place them over your heart and breathe deeply inwards and outwards three times. Then tell your heart that you are creating space to listen to this special person who is sharing their heart with you. All you need is one minute to do this.
Have Time for Mindfulness Meditations
The hustle and bustle of holiday preparations can snatch your mind off of being mindful. Enhance your “mindfulness” bone by indulging in regular mindfulness meditations.
Shutting off the world for a moment, and taking in life in the “now” improves your capacity to be present at the moment, minimizes stress, and boosts your appreciation of life.
The benefits of regular mindfulness meditations include reduced anxiety, increased focused, and lowered stress. If you’re someone who’s used to battling holiday stress, you know you’d definitely use some mindfulness perks.
Strike the Balance
It’s important to remember that apart from your holiday responsibilities, you also have a responsibility to yourself. You must learn how to create balance between your responsibilities. Learn how to take cue on what others need, but don’t forget to also know when to take a break and focus on yourself.
One of the most essential aspects of mindfulness is knowing when to give YOURSELF the help it needs. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and be good with yourself. Do things that recharges you and shut off triggers. It may surprise you, but taking care of yourself increases your ability to become more thoughtful, kinder, happier, and ready to give more meaning to the holiday spirit.
Mindfulness during the holidays? These eight simple tips and mindfulness strategies will prove to you that it’s possible.