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.
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 all 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, the 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.
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. 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.