December is a strange month, isn’t it? For the most part, we’re either remembering the old, reflecting on the year and thinking what has been, or embracing the future, making plans, visions, and goals for the new year. In between all the crazy busy Christmas errands and the hoping between past and future, it seems really hard to find a way to be mindful and present during the Christmas season.
It’s all too easy to get lost in the Christmas stress without truly enjoying and appreciating its magic. Everything leads up to that one special day, and then, within the blink of an eye, it’s gone, vanished until next year. All the stressing over gift shopping, baking, attending numerous Christmas gatherings and trying to meet those end of year work deadlines. Instead of really enjoying the Christmas spirit, we often end up living outside of the moment, lost in doing the next important thing. But the festive season doesn’t have to stressful and draining.
7 Ways to Have a More Mindful Christmas Season
Be in the moment. Baking cookies and scrolling through your phone, watching a Christmas movie and wrapping presents, shopping online during work…. we ever too often try to do it all at once, stretching ourselves thin, telling our brain it actually can multitask. But try to do things mindfully this year. Bake cookies and be in the moment. Go shopping with a friend. Be there. Be present.
Allow the for meditation. It doesn’t matter what form of meditation you seek out, but try to incorporate it into your daily life as much as possible. Do a 5-minute meditation after waking up. Head out for a yoga class. Go for a walk.
Turn down the competition. Your colleagues already bought and wrapped all their presents? Your friends already have plans for New Years Eve? So what? It’s not a race. Do things in your own pace and try not to let others rush you.
Silence your inner critic. Don’t worry if you’ve chosen the slow queue at the supermarket, can’t find the perfect gift or are on a tight budget and fear friends will secretly criticize your gifts. Anyone who judges a present’s worth on its monetary value isn’t really your friend and the 5 minutes you’ve wasted at the supermarket are not really wasted at all, try to embrace those minutes as a gift – your secret break from everything.
Show self-compassion. Whether it’s a night in reading a book, taking a hot bath or lying on the sofa watching a movie, take time out of the festive preparation to do something you love. Indulge your senses, feed your soul and make time just for you.
Channel your inner child. Remember you don’t have to stop behaving like a kid just because you’re no longer one. Laughter is good for the soul and helps you get in touch with the present moment. Dance it out. Be silly. Play games. And feed and nourish your inner child.
Honor your feelings. Despite being depicted as the happy season in movies and ads, you may notice thoughts, feelings or memories interrupting your Christmas spirit. These thoughts may be subtle and fleeting but sufficient to take the edge off your Christmas cheer. When you notice what is happening in your mind, acknowledge it, don’t criticize – be kind and return your attention to doing things you love. Yoga, reading, wrapping presents or dancing around the house to your favorite Christmas song. Pay more attention to where you are and what you are doing, even if your mind tries to offer distractions and alternative realities that appear to be more pleasant than your real experience.
Bonus Tipp: Ease your state of mind in stressful moments with the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness coping technique
Stop whatever you are doing. Take a deep breath in. Hold for a moment and take a deep breath out. Acknowledge….
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can feel
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste