How to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season

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How to stay mindful this holiday season

For a lot of us, this time of year is not only very exciting, but also very busy.  We spend weeks  preparing for the holiday season, we make all these plans and then, it’s all over, in a heartbeat. 

Yes, time seems to fly these days, which is why staying mindful and present is so important.

LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS

In this post, I told you why I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve. It’s all about expectations- so often we hype ourselves up and then end up feeling disappointed. Like getting to see all your friends and family, or people arriving on time, or everything going according to the plan. Well, nothing always goes according to plan and we need to learn to be okay with that.

If you think about it, that’s also where that magic is. When I think about this year’s Thanksgiving, I don’t think about the sink pipe that broke when I was cleaning up, and my kitchen being a mess. I remember my sister and I sitting under that sink, trying to fix it and laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. Those little mishaps are inevitable, the key is to not let them get to you and to stay grounded.

BREATHE

And how do you not let those things get to you? You breathe. This is the time to not only be kind and gentle with others, but also with yourself. While in a perfect world everyone would get along well and loved and respected each other, you know how it goes in the family. Sometimes you love them, sometimes not so much.

Sometimes a well-meaning relative says something really stupid at the dinner table (or God forbid brings up politics) and it makes your blood boil- that’s when those deep breaths come in. If your first instinct is to respond to a stupid comment, which you know will start an argument you need to stop right there, breathe and ask yourself do I really want to get into this right now? Treat breathing as a tool that helps you connect with the present moment- noticing your breath is one of the best ways to start practicing mindfulness.

DISCONNECT + COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

The holidays get hectic. They get a little (or a lot) crazy- especially if you travel to see friends or family. Just because things get hectic though, doesn’t mean you can’t slow down. Take the time to truly disconnect- even if it’s turning your phone only for one hour. If there are any events or holiday parties you don’t feel like attending, don’t be afraid to say “no” because you’d rather stay in and take some time for yourself, watching Hallmark movies and drinking hot chocolate.

It’s also a great time to reflect and appreciate al the wonderful things that happened to you this year. Maybe it’s been a tough one for you? Well, be thankful for that too!

I’ll be honest, first couple of weeks of 2016 were some of the worst and truly scary weeks of my life. If you’ve ever had one of those “this isn’t happening” moments, that’s exactly what I was going through. And you know what? I also see that as something to be thankful for. Bad experiences, those trying moments can be blessings too. I, personally was able to see just how strong some of my relationships are and it really gave me an understanding of how important it is to have a group of wonderful people around to support you.

how-to-be-mindful-during-holidays

DON’T OVERCOMPLICATE

Don’t overcomplicate things for yourself. If you can, ask for help. The errands, the cooking, the shopping, the planning, the cleaning- those are all things that I love doing on my own. If you’re anything like me, then you’re a bit of a control freak and always feel the need to do everything by yourself. Well, that’s overcomplicating things and sometimes, I’m an expert at this. Well, it gets kind of draining. And exhausting. At the end of the day, you’re running on fumes, and can’t really enjoy yourself because you’re either too tired, or you’re thinking about the next thing you’ll have to do. Don’t be afraid of simple- simple is good.

Most importantly, the key to staying mindful this holiday season, is remembering to slow down and be present. Remember that we’re the ones who make that magic happen. I’d be a shame not to truly enjoy it.

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  • Christine C.

    YES to all of this! The Holidays should be a time to relax, spend time with family and friends and enjoy it all. Instead, a lot of us run around like crazy people. I’m hoping this year to really take it all in and allow myself to just relax and enjoy the things I never have time for normally!

    • I’m hoping for the same! I really miss being so calm and relaxed before Christmas like I was when I was younger. My goal this year is to really slow down and enjoy this time! :)

  • Great tips Paula! Sometimes I wish I can disconnect and just relax but when you have kids that hardly ever happens :). But I cherish every moment that I have with them so I wouldn’t change anything.

  • Love this! Let Go of Expectations is such a good one – it’s so easy to get caught in trying to be perfect or find the perfect gift and it leads to you having way worse of a time than making a little mistake

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • These are great tips and so spot on. I am trying to do this and this is great inspiration!

  • YES YES YES. I’m definitely following the let go of expectations, sometimes when things don’t go to plan they get even better!

  • Ketaki Sawant

    omg this is so true … n those deep breathes r great …they come so handy for me when I meet my family back in India …. there is that one person that always wants to start argument n as a mature person .. I just take deep breathes ? Great post ?? I m learning it slowly to say no .. i m no super woman to do everything perfectly ?

  • Control freaks unite!! I try so hard to let go of this but it is SO HARD. My boyfriend is so relaxed and not in a hurry to get anything done whereas I’m always racing to get everything done so I can enjoy everything!

    It really is amazing how easy it is to forget how fortunate we are around this time of year. We get so caught up in the chaos, but the chaos is kind of beautiful in a way. Everyone rushing around to try to find things for their loved ones. It’s nice!

    Katie | http://www.overthemoony.com

  • I totally agree with everything! Specially about letting go of expectations, I always have these high high high expectations about Christmas and New Year’s Eve and they always end up disappointing me! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

    • That’s my issue with NYE! I don’t know where it stems from, but I always expect it to be this big thing haha :)

  • Sheridan Grady

    Love this!! I am so excited for the holiday period this year just to have time off work and relax!! x

    http://www.shayholly.co.uk

  • Frances Kayleigh

    This is great! Things to remember through the business for sure. I’m so looking forward to having a couple of weeks off of work and being able to work on all things blogging and truly dedicate some time to that ! :) xx
    franceskayleigh.com

  • Ashley Christabelle

    I need to remember and not let anything that my relatives say get to me! They sometimes make my blood boil, but hey at the end of the day, they’re family.

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    I love this post and I agree with all of it. Disconnecting and relaxing is a huge must for me over Christmas and New Years. I am that person who holds up too much of an expectation for New Years and I really don’t like myself for doing it. I set my hopes way too high. Im a huge believer now in setting a goal anytime and if you want something you need to aim and work for it. Love this post Paula. xx

    http://www.beautylifebecca.blogspot.co.uk

  • You’re right. Simple is good. Thanks for the reminder not to stress it this Christmas.

    Hope you have a good rest of your week!

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com

  • That is so true! We’ve been busy for the whole year and yet Christmas should be the time where you spend more time to your loved ones and enjoy the season but to us… we are more busy than previous seasons

  • You’re so right. People so often get wrapped up in present-buying stress that they forget that Christmas is really about spending time with loved ones! I too am guilty of this…but this post was a lovely little reminder to remember to breathe!

    katie xx lacoconoire.com

  • Such an inspiring post. It is important to relax and to enjoy these days and that is exactly what I am would do!

  • I love Christmas, but I always make sure I am prepared for it in advance – so that I don’t spend entire Christmas time stressing over food or gifts :)

  • Wildfire Charm

    This was lovely and positive post to read! I’m trying my best to let go of expectations this year!

    http://www.wildfirecharm.com

  • I totally agree that somethings there are too many expectations with the Holidays. Love these thoughts.
    Hannah
    glamlifeliving.com

  • Counting my blessings is something I become really aware of this time of year around family and friends – some lovely tips in this post Paula :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.co.uk

  • Love this post! I’m going to try out these tips over Christmas and really try to rest and recharge, rather than running around manically trying to get everything done!

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk

    • Prepping ahead is definitely a great way to ensure you can actually spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the holidays :)

  • Kate

    Such good advice! The big one for me is not letting people get to me. I don’t mind the chaos and the work and the mishaps so much, it’s the thoughtless comments from family that get me upset all too easily – and as much as I love my family it does seem to happen without fail every year! This time I will try to take your advice and take a deep breath! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

    • I know the feeling Kate! I always get at least one dumb comment and my husband always has to squeeze my hand under the table to make sure I don’t snap back haha. I’ve gotten much better though, breathing definitely helps!

  • Natalie Redman

    Great advice for the holidays. Definitely coming back to this for the festivities of 2017!

    http://www.upyourvlog.com