The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they can also be pretty damn stressful, that’s where mindfulness comes in!
Normal holiday traditions and routines have been thrust into new territory. Our minds are abuzz with “what ifs” and “if onlys.”
Just because you can’t pound a jug of eggnog at the company holiday party, or go caroling with your entire extended family, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays this year.
Mindfulness during the holiday season can help us let go of the past and future and allow us to be fully present in the moment.
Joy to the world!
Without further ado, here are three ways you can use mindfulness to recharge during the holidays.
Immerse Yourself in Music
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t always mean sitting still in meditation. The holidays are loaded with traditional music, filled with cultural meaning. No matter what holiday you celebrate, there’s a festive tune you can resonate with.
The best way to immerse yourself in music is to choose a song that you find meaningful. Maybe it symbolizes a tradition or sparks a happy memory.
Once you select your song(s), try and relax your mind and let the music fully encompass your awareness. You can sit, or lie down, or even dance; whatever you’re feeling!
Try and attune your full attention to the bass, beat, and melody of the song.
Greet any emotions that arrive with curiosity. When you’ve noticed your mind has wandered (and it will!), gently refocus on the music.
Not only is this a great mindfulness practice, but music also boosts energy, releases sadness, increases focus, and more!
Specially prepared cuisines are a holiday staple. Adding a little mindfulness to your menu can really make your days (and nights) merry and bright.
Now, we’re not going to sit here and tell you to only eat the healthiest foods this holiday season. Who can turn down a nice slice of pecan pie with an ice-cold glass of ‘nog.
But, eating mindfully allows you to relish your own tradition and culture and fully engage in holiday meals.
Here’s what we mean by eating mindfully:
Take time with each bite. Chew slowly while noticing how the food feels in your mouth. Experience the flavors, textures, and smells.
Think about how the food was created, prepared, and presented to you. Take time to appreciate where the food came from and who thought of the recipes.
Eating mindfully greatly increases feelings of gratitude and cultivates a sense of appreciation.
Give it a try this year; and save us a slice of pecan pie.
Spend Some Quiet Time in Nature
There is perhaps no better way to calm the mind than to be in nature. Even if it’s cold out there, bundling up and practicing mindfulness in nature is a must during the holidays this year.
As Richard Louv, author of the book Last Child in the Woods, wrote, “Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive functioning.”
To add some natural mindfulness to your holidays, find a place outdoors; preferable where there is grass or trees.
Comfortably sit or lie on your back in a place with a good view and take a few moments to breathe deeply.
Concentrate on the air as it fills your lungs and expels into the atmosphere. Focus on where you can feel the breath the most; maybe the tip of your nose, or in your chest.
Notice how your exhale becomes one with the surroundings.
When you notice you are lost in thought, gently bring your attention back to your visual field and the feeling of the breath.
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, we’ve got you covered! Check this out.