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Mindfulness for the Holidays

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How does your holiday calendar look?

Is it full of obligations?

Or, is it full of stress?

The holidays are wonderful and are supposed to be a joyous season, yet you may feel the pressure of obligations and the stress of more company or financial restraints, which seems to suck all the joy of the season right out of you.

We talk a lot about living with mindfulness, allowing the stress of the holidays to flow through you, creating a sense of calm in your life.

Are you living with mindfulness, appreciating the moments of life, enjoying the joy and beauty of the season?

Learning to live in the moment, taking in your surroundings, is mindfulness. You have no expectations of how you believe the moment should be and accept the moment that you’re in.

Learning to live with mindfulness allows you to enjoy the moments of life, being grateful, and stress-free.

This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Being one who went into the holidays with high expectations of how the season was to flow, my stress meter was off the charts most years. It was only when I learned the habits of mindfulness that I was able to appreciate the season and enjoy the “not so perfect” holiday season.

Take time today to reflect on your mindfulness and apply these strategies to your life this holiday, and every holiday, season from this year forward.

Mindfulness vs. the Holidays 

Part of living healthier is learning to live with a healthier mindset. This is a practice that you do throughout the year and the more you learn to create mindfulness in your life, the easier it becomes.

Then the holidays arrive.

I’m not sure if it is the stress overload, our high expectations, the added obligations to our daily calendar, or a combination of them all, but staying mindful seems to take a vacation during the holidays.

Take a moment and reflect on your feelings right now.

Are you stressed?

If so, Why?

What about the holidays are causing your stress meter to go off the charts?

Take time to journal your feelings and really think about what you’re feeling this season.

You may be surprised at what you discover about yourself and your feelings during the holidays.

Each home is different. and each person is different, but you may find yourself trying to please everyone except yourself. When you do this, you’re causing undue emotional stress for yourself.

When you understand what is creating your stress, you’ll have the advantage of how to take control and become more mindful about your circumstances.

I discovered that my stress came from multiple expectations that I had failed to take control of.

First, I had overloaded my calendar with an excessive number of things to do. On top of my normal routine and obligations, I added additional things to do during the holiday season. This required me to be on the go most nights during the week and every weekend was booked solid.

There was a time when I purchased gifts for 100 people, I’m not exaggerating – I’ve got the list, and the financial strain this put on our budget was unreal. Each December we host a couple of dinners which is another off-the-charts expense to our budget. Then there is the decorating and the traveling, which all adds up to major financial stress.

As one who envisions how everything should look and flow, I constantly set myself up to be disappointed when reality hits. No matter how well I plan a dinner or an outing, real-life never matches my expectations.

How have you handled your holidays when your calendar is overbooked, your budget has seen better days, and your plans never match reality?

Through the years, I’ve learned that being mindful helps me enjoy the holidays by staying present in the moment and allowing me to set my expectations to the side.

Learn to see each moment of life as a gift. Perfect only exists in magazine pictures and certain holiday movies, but never in our day to day life. Once you understand that your holiday celebrations are not about being perfect, but about being with those you love, you’ll begin to enjoy yourself, your loved ones, and realize how grateful you are for the wonder of the season.

You’ll also find yourself slowing down and taking the time to hit the pause button on the hustle and bustle of the season.

Do you have a daily checklist to get you through the holidays?

I’m embarrassed to say that I did. When you’re going through the holidays with a checklist, first you’ve overloaded your calendar and second, you’re missing the joy of the season.

When the month is nothing but a memory of busyness, then you’re missing out on what is important, making memories. 

Being Present vs Chaos 

All this talk about mindfulness may look great in print, but how do you put mindfulness into action?

How do you let go, lower your stress meter, and be present in the midst of the holiday chaos?

Sounds like a dream, but stay with me, because you can develop mindfulness and learn to be present throughout the holidays.

Quiet Your Mind 

We live in a world of noise, constant noise.

How often do you sit quietly?

During this holiday season, make time to sit quietly and focus on your surroundings. What do you hear, smell, see?

Not sure you can sneak off by yourself for some quality quiet time?

Take time to sit quietly during a meal, end your day sitting quietly with a nice cup of hot tea, or take a leisurely walk. During these moments of quiet, take time to be mindful of your surroundings and how you feel.

Release Perfectionism 

Life happens and often not the way you planned.

How often have you become frustrated with yourself and others because your plans fell apart at the last minute or in the middle of your day?

Negative thoughts begin to take over, you say things you shouldn’t, you become irritable and angry, and no one is happy.

Take a deep breath and release your frustration. Become mindful of your surroundings, take in the sights, and sounds around you. Enjoy those you’re with and know that all will be okay.

Live in the moment 

Pressing the “pause” button of life is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself, especially when you’re living in the busyness of the holidays.

Start with your meals. How often do you eat on the run, never taking time to enjoy your meal? Or, maybe you take time to prepare your meals and sit down to eat, but your mind is in overdrive because of the electronics you’re looking at while eating.

Mindfulness begins when you turn off your distractions and enjoy your meals. Savor the flavors and aromas of your meal, sit quietly, and reflect on your feelings and all you have to be gratefully for.

Living in the moment allows you to enjoy what you’re doing at that moment. Often our mind is at warp speed, thinking about all the things yet to be accomplished for the day. When you pause and allow yourself to just live in the moment, your stress levels decrease, and you’ll find yourself calmer and ready for the day ahead. 

Take a Pause 

Being mindful is nothing more than taking a pause. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what you should have done, what you still have to do, what is or isn’t perfect during the holidays. When you find your mind wandering instead of enjoying time with family or friends, just take a pause. Sit for a few minutes alone in the quiet and bring yourself back to this moment. 

Living Mindfully Every Day 

Mindfulness is not just for the holidays, but for every day of your life.

By using these strategies during your day, you’ll find yourself being more mindful and present in your daily life.

Be present in the moment – What is happening right now in your life? How do you feel? What are your thoughts? Are you living in joy or are you stressed?

Release regrets – Mindfulness allows you to release regrets about yourself, past choices, and helps you to move forward with confidence. As you look forward to each day, you’ll be mindful of what brings joy to your life, even in the midst of chaos.

Mindfulness is a choice.

Let me encourage you to make mindfulness a life-long habit beginning today.

Taking the first step toward mindfulness can be as simple as choosing how to eat mindfully. Request my “Mindful Eating During the Holidays” to get started today.

Click below to receive your copy. 👇

 

Mindful Eating