Being mindful during the holiday season
Written by Mariel Wilk, Gateway Academy Mindfulness Teacher
The holiday season is just that, a season! This specific season is a great celebration AND brings many people stress and unease with to do lists and expectations we put on ourselves. This is where mindfulness plays a huge important role so we can stop and truly enjoy the presence of this season.
Mindfulness is simple, but the mind is another (be-u-tiful) story of complication. Mindfulness simply put is to be present at the moment, having awareness, and being in the here and now! Our minds do not "shut off" during these practices, however, they are more responsive vs reactive when we take the time to listen, be still, and deepen our practice of living this life without letting it pass us by. How do we do this in simple, easy, and effective ways? Here is an acronym that can help you find these cherished mindful moments in your day, especially around this holiday season!
A fun, easy, and effective tool to use to get you out of a funk and live your best/happiest life the right way!
Find ways to get social. It can be simple and easy and at a level that matches your current mood. Some ways you can implement this during the holiday season:
1) Text a friend:
Hello, thinking of you, how are you doing, really? Maybe even a funny joke or animation.
During the holidays we may feel pressured to see everyone! Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself permission to text or make a phone call - this is still a special moment to connect with good intention.
2) Leave a voice memo:
This makes it a touch more personal and usually, the receiver will feel more connected by hearing your voice.
3) Call a friend or family member:
Even if you just have a few minutes, they will be happy you reached out. Try to do this not just on the holidays. Random days are the best!
4) Meet up with someone:
Make it a point to schedule a meet-up with someone, even if for only half an hour.
I know these words can seem intimidating but let's try to change that story by starting with these easy, quick, and effective opportunities to strengthen that mind-muscle.
1) Pause in your day at least once and take three deep breaths.
2) Put on some relaxing music in the background today. Holiday music can enhance our moods as well. Ask yourself- what kind of music brings me presence and inner joy?
3) Sit in your car for an extra minute (maybe before a family event or holiday gathering this season) and just BE.
4) Close your eyes, notice the body, the heart beating, the breath coming in and out (maybe set a timer so you can give yourself a few minutes to do so without worrying about the time).
5) Go for a walk and notice the sounds, colors, shapes, and how your body feels to move in a relaxing way. Noticing as the seasons change, so do we, and it is a be-u-tiful moment to notice.
6) Find a guided meditation or app that you feel you can focus on. Lean into the curiosity of trying different kinds of meditations until you find one that you look forward to doing. (hint: there is one out there for everyone!)
O- Outside/ Nature time
Getting fresh air is so important for your overall well-being!
1) Find time today to step outside today, or at the very least, roll your windows down on a car ride. During the holidays, stress can feel more present, taking a moment outside can help us see the bigger picture (maybe get outside and view all the extraordinary lights lighting up the neighborhood!)
Sometimes I imagine myself on top of a mountain when my problems seem overwhelming! I look down at the problem (which most times is created in our thoughts alone) with all the other things in my life and it doesn’t seem so big with a perspective shift. Give it a try!
2) Find time to take a walk or even a hike during the week or weekend! You can learn so much while being in nature.
3) Open up a window in your home and take in the fresh air. Bonus: nature sounds!
G- Gratitude/ Journal
This has been one of my personal biggest game-changers. Take some time each day to write about your day and end with a list of gratitudes (at least 5-10). Or, maybe, you just do the gratitudes, that is a great start too!
During holiday card writing, add something about them you are grateful for!
Maybe it's a conversation over the dinner table with your family around the holidays where you share the things you are grateful for at this moment, together. You can even think of the things you are grateful for in a moment when you are feeling overwhelmed with your to do list around the holiday season. Pause, name five things you are grateful for, and notice how you then go about your day.
Make it work for you!
If you want to learn more about mindfulness and how to get more involved here is the link to learn about more opportunities including Mindfulness classes for students and adults, MindfulnesswithMariel Podcast, YouTube, Facebook group,and more!
YOU GOT THIS!
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