Everyone knows that when the holidays roll around it can be a time filled with busyness and lots of stress. Often we will forget to slow down and actually enjoy and appreciate the precious moments that make up this wonderful time of year. This is where mindfulness can help you out when the rush of all the traveling and even trying to please each person gets to be too much. Unfortunately, the holidays can be overwhelming. Through mindfulness, you will be able to slow it all down and focus on the beauty of this time of year.
Release the Stress of the Holidays
When the stress of the holidays starts to feel like the walls are closing in on you, you’ll want to try and stop and focus more on what’s important. One great way to do this is to include some mindfulness breathing. Breathing is something that can make it a lot easier for you to focus yourself on the fun things and not the stress of life.
Mindfulness breathing exercises can help you concentrate much better. When you focus on your breathing you’ll help to reduce the thoughts that are distracting your mind.
You may also want to include a little bit of meditation along with your mindfulness breathing. When you include meditation you are going to help release the tension that might be building up in your body. For example, breathe in and say “I clearly aware of my body.” When you breathe out say “I now release all the tension my body is feeling.” You should try repeating this several times all through the day, especially when you feel tense.
You may also want to try doing some deep breathing as well. Breathing deep is a way to help you reduce any anxiety you might be feeling during the holidays. Anytime you feel overwhelmed just take a deep breath and then hold onto it for a count of five, exhale very slowly for another count of five. Try doing this about ten times or at least until you start to feel some relief.
Take Plenty of Breaks and Get Lots of Rest
As important as it may be for you to feel like that you are obligated to play the host at all big gatherings, you need to understand that both your mind and body are going to need some rest. That’s why mindfulness teaches you to be kind to yourself and that means you need to give yourself some time every day to do absolutely nothing. You also need to make sure that you get at least seven hours of good sleep every night, especially during the holidays.
- Try delegating some of your holiday tasks to others in order to have less stress on your own plate.
- Make sure to set a special time for yourself to just do nothing at all. Even if that means sitting down on the sofa and closing your eyes for just five minutes or so.
- Try to not make any kind of plans or do chores before you go to bed. You should give yourself about 30 minutes of time to unwind before you crawl into bed. It’s important that you turn off your phone, TV, and computer during this unwinding time.
Have Some Fun and Laugh
Holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy family and friends and it’s important that you put things down and take the time to just have some fun. Enjoy the company of loved ones and laugh, laughing is one of the best ways to lower your stress and it just makes you feel good all over.
Remember spending time with people you love is what the holiday should be focused on. It’s important to prioritize all the special moments that happen during this wonderful time of year.
Slow Down When Traveling
Many of us need to travel during the holidays and this can be very stressful, especially this time of year. That’s why it’s important to use mindfulness to help you avoid rushing around during traveling. Instead, you need to learn how to slow down. One of the best things to do when traveling is to give yourself ample of time to get to where you’re going.
It’s important to try not to be impatient when you travel. It’s a good idea to expect the unexpected. You also want to do your best to avoid any kind of negative talking. Do your best to focus on making traveling fun.
If you’re traveling with family then take this time to play some games or do other travel activities together instead of ignoring one another. Make traveling as part of the entire holiday experience instead of some dreadful thing. Make sure to pack a variety of smaller travel games you all can play together.
Make sure to also plan time for any delays or down times there might be during your traveling.
Make Sure to Be an Active Listener
In order to minimize any distractions make sure that you make all conversations top priority during the holidays. When talking with family and friends try not to have the TV, computer, phones and other things on. These things make it difficult to focus on the person who might be talking.
When you give all of your attention to someone who is talking is going to show that you care about what they are saying. By being an active listener will let your loved ones feel free to speak. It’s important that when they’re talking that you don’t constantly interrupt them. Put aside the activities you might be doing and be engaged in what they have to say.
Make sure to let them know you’re really listening to them by asking questions or nodding in acknowledgment.
Use Mindfulness When Eating
Sitting down to a big holiday meal can be filled with excitement and everyone wanting to rush through the meal. However, that’s not the best way to get through any meal, but especially a holiday meal. These meals should be a very special time where you not only eat your favorite foods. It’s also a time to enjoy these foods with those you love. It’s very important to savor each bite and each moment spent with your family and friends. Here are a few tips on mindfulness and eating:
- Try to slow down when you’re eating. Make sure to enjoy every single bite. Remember to put your fork down when chewing your food. This gives your body time to let the brain to feel satisfied.
- Try to make eating a grand event instead of some mindless snacking session in front of a TV or while on the phone. Make sure that these things are turned off when eating.
- Avoid forcing yourself to eat more than what you really need to eat. You really don’t have to do this just because there’s so much to eat. If you want to taste everything just dish up small portions of all the food.
Appreciate All the Small Things
Even though mindfulness teaches it’s important to appreciate the small things in life, the holidays are the ideal time to practice this. Do your best to not dwell on the negative this time of year. Instead be grateful for what you have and for your loved ones.
Share with others what you’re grateful for and ask them to do the same in turn. It’s important during this time of year to be aware of what we’re truly grateful for.
It’s also very important to be kind to everyone. Yes, the holidays are hectic but that’s not a reason to be negative or unkind to people. Make sure to always have a smile for those you come in contact with, even if you don’t know them. It’s important to put yourself in their shoes. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Finally, and this is probably the most important thing is to love others and love yourself. Through mindfulness focus on your thoughts and feelings without judging yourself. It’s important that you do the same thing with those around you. Don’t allow your thoughts to drift off towards anger, guilt, pain, or envy. Instead, see what it really means to be alive and in communion with those around you.
Do activities that fill your entire soul with love and then share that love with those around you. Even if this just sitting in your favorite chair in front of a warm fire. Make sure to do things that simply make you happy during this time of year and you’ll be amazed at how uplifting that will be and how quickly that same feeling will spread to others.