For some, the Holiday Season is something to be anticipated and longed for—family gatherings, amazing food, warm fires, twinkling lights, and giving/receiving those perfect gifts. For others, it can be overwhelming, exhausting, and stressful—too many people, too much food, too many things to buy, and never enough time. While being prepared is incredibly important to any stress-inducing situation, some things are not in our control. Thats why it’s just as important to take the moments we need during this busy season for the one thing that truly is—mindfulness.
It may sound silly or even ridiculous, especially if you aren’t looking forward to family gatherings, travel, and the pressure of cooking and shopping. But if you’re able to take a step back and reframe your mindset and/or find ways to take care of yourself within the whirlwind, you have a greater chance of reclaiming this season and enjoying it the way you choose.
With Thanksgiving (and Christmas!) preparation already underway, we’re sharing 6 ways to lean into mindfulness throughout the rest of this year:
Try guided meditations: Apps like Headspace, Calm, and even Apple Fitness have guided meditations to help you get grounded, focused, and in the right frame of mind. Even when you’ve only got a few minutes to spare!
Get ahead of things, but let go of high expectations: Help your future-self out now by making lists, schedules, and setting plans. However, you can’t hold on too tightly when things inevitably go off the rails. The more prepared you are, the better things will end up if there are delays, mistakes, or swells of chaos.
Honor your feelings: Let’s not pretend that everything is always merry and bright. Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions that we would like to ignore in order to go along with the festivities. Maybe you’re missing a familiar face at your table this year or you feel buried under the stress of work and the thought of celebrating only brings frustration. Instead of pushing through the difficult feelings, sit with them as an act of self-care and the first step to moving forward.
Don’t stop taking care of yourself: When we are mentally and physically taken care of, we are more able to take care of others. And isn’t that what makes the holiday season so special? It can be easy to focus on making it the perfect Christmas for everyone around you—especially if you are a parent and/or host—but now is the time to give yourself the gift of self-care! Try that new face mask, get cozy by the fire with that new book, and fill your own cup with Christmas Cheer.
Practice gratitude: It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the “things” involved in Christmas. And while giving and receiving gifts is a beautiful part of the season, there are so many other aspects of life that are easily overlooked. This is a great time to take a moment of gratitude for the things that surround you.
Find moments of peace: Truly easier said than done. But once you start looking for the opportunities, they’ll become more apparent. Take 5 minutes to yourself in the mornings before any celebration begins, step outside and feel the cold air on your face, or enjoy the process of brewing a fresh pot of coffee. It can be so easy to rush through the in-between to get to all of the “exciting” parts of a holiday, but the magic is made in the small moments.
With only 43 days to the New Year, take the time you deserve to have the holiday season you dream of. And remember, mindfulness is considered a “practice” because we’re always working on it.