Anytime is a great time to incorporate mindfulness but at Holiday time….some Mindfulness just might keep you from losing yours.
Incorporating some of the mindful techniques such as bringing awareness to the present. Not worrying about the past or the future is one of the best ways to truly enjoy life. But, that whole not worrying about the future when there are presents to be bought and wrapped as well as house cleaning that needs to be done because company is coming and they would probably like a nice holiday meal and maybe some homemade cookies…
Sounds stressful to me, at least described in two sentences like that. Luckily though there are some helpful techniques that can lower the stress and keep us more in the holiday spirit.
Here are 7 ways to help keep the cheer near.
#1 Bringing awareness to the potential stress is helpful. I don’t mean whining to all your friends about what you need to do and who is coming to dinner. Just try to see the whole picture and accept it for what it is—not bad, not good—it just is. The judging gets us into a rut so best to avoid that from the beginning.
#2 Practice deep breathing throughout the day. Not the kind of sighing we do we are resigned to do something we don’t want to ….if that is what you like to do then just do it so you don’t make others crazy or make them think you are crazy.
The kind of breathing that I am talking about is a pretty good habit for anytime of the year so maybe you will acquire a taste for it and continue to use it. Simply breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds and then breathe out for 8 seconds. A couple of these is like pushing your own pause button. Good thing to do around the holidays when people say some crazy stuff, maybe it is the yuletide beverage speaking but we all know this happens. Try getting really good at this so you can use it on Valentine’s Day when the silliness gets going at work.
#3 Maybe some meditating is just what you need. This is a wonderful practice to establish but if you’re new to it then you probably don’t want to add the stress of meditating for 15-20minutes in one sitting. You could very well end up worrying about if you are doing it correctly and that is the exact opposite of the point so just try sitting quietly for maybe 5 minutes in silence counting breaths. Or if you have Pandora then find Deepak’s station and listen for 5-10 minutes. Heck do a walking meditation while holiday shopping. That pretty much means that while walking for a longer stretch you try to concentrate on your feet hitting the ground—connecting with the ground, leaving the ground and then the next foot connects. This type of concentration can help take your brain out of gear and focus on just the walking which brings us into the present for sure.
#4 Journaling is a sweet way to slip into your new mindful habits. Since it is reflective you can do anything you’d like. You can pretend you are writing to your best friend or just a dear diary about what is going on in your life. If it seems there is a lot of drama in your life that you are trying to avoid getting involved in writing down your worries or concerns or hey even possible outcomes is a great way to process what is going on and could help to keep your foot out of your mouth.
There are many types of journals to choose from, blank ones, prompts, daily, weekly, you name it and there is one. I happen to really like prompts and the gratitude ones. Speaking of gratitude….
#5 Practicing gratitude or remembering what you have to be grateful for is very handy this time of year. No matter what your beliefs are there are always things to be grateful for and acknowledging them will have a positive effect on your spirit and if you are letting someone else know, then they will get the positive vibe too. Just writing these thoughts down can improve your awareness and before you know it you see lots more things and people in your life for which you are grateful.
#6 Mindful eating is a big one during this season, well there are a couple more that get us into trouble but life is short so eat dessert first right? OK, a little right, yes life is short but eating too many desserts is only going to make us judge ourselves later and seek New Year’s resolutions that we all know we don’t want to keep so we don’t but the downward spiral continues.
How about instead we try to eat some basics, greens and proteins and then some sprinkling of sweets and side dishes you only get this time of year. The experience is more important than shoveling it in your mouth. The saying ‘a moment on the lips, forever on the hips’ is fine but sometimes it doesn’t even take me a moment to get it to my hips. So, savoring the moments and actually tasting the future pounds only makes sense if they are going to be with us for a while. Actually, slowing down and tasting the food you choose will keep you from overeating somewhat so make it a game to be the last one done and when the New Year rolls around you will not need a useless resolution.
#7 Service to others is a wonderful way to help spread the holiday cheer. There are a lot of stressed people out this time of year and it is really cool to read stories about moms with cranky kids trying to check out only find their order has been paid for by some stranger. What a great way to improve the lives of several people at once. There are lots of other ways to help out, many places are serving meals and could use an extra hand, or assisted living places or nursing homes who have residents that could use some holiday cheer, there are some who would just be happy to hear another voice so there’s lots to do.
These are just a few ideas for you to help keep your sanity during the holidays. These ideas are truly like hitting your own pause button, giving you time to think before you speak or do. We all need more of this in our lives.
I hope you enjoy your holidays as you are transcending your daily muck.
Best wishes to you for Peace and Happiness