Snow, decorations, holiday sweets, and Secret Santa groups are upon us. We are officially in the holiday buzz. It is a time of year that is meant to be full of joy and warm greetings. But, the frenzy is a little contagious and you may find yourself wanting to add to your holiday to-do list. Before you get too caught up in orchestrating the perfect holiday experience, start sprinkling in some mindfulness practices
so you can manage any subsequent stress and
savor the precious moments
. Because, if you are like many of us, the frenzy can take away from the joy and before you know it you are taking down the Christmas tree after a blur of wrapping paper.
What is meaningful for you? First things first. What is it you enjoy about this time of year? For many there are deep religious and spiritual beliefs that are the foundation of everything. For others, the season is about family and friends or giving back to those in need. It may be that you love to sit by a decorated tree. There is no right or wrong here. The point is to be clear about what is meaningful to you and make sure where you put your energy aligns with this.
Calm abiding. Most of us are familiar with mindfulness as an evidence-based tool for managing stress. The lesser known benefit of mindfulness is how it helps us to enhance our experience of joy. Calm abiding is bringing attention to each moment – regardless of whether it is pleasure or discomfort and everything in between. Bringing mindfulness to the additional holiday tasks will help you to be more present for the anticipated rewards of your labor. For example, you can bake, decorate, and wrap presents mindfully. If you practice being present for these everyday tasks it will only strengthen your ability to be present during your favorite moments of the season.
Mindfulness to pleasurable experiences. Go back to what is most meaningful for you this time of year. What do you most enjoy? Is it sipping hot cocoa in front of a fire? Walking your dog in the snow? Gathering with family? Whatever it is, make sure you have it scheduled and then really experience it. Turn off the devices, let yourself rest in the moment. When your mind runs to other lists or things to do, gently remind yourself “nowhere else to be, nothing else to do.”
Today, regardless of what you feel you need to bake, buy, or wrap, is a perfect day to strengthen your ability to be present and fully enjoy what you love most about this time of year!