It is the most wonderful time of the year. It is also the busiest. The holiday season passes in the blink of an eye. If we are not conscious of being present, we can miss a lot of special moments. Being mindful allows us to enjoy these moments with our loved ones, creates less stress, and provides rejuvenation. With December halfway through and 2016 around the corner, take some time to disconnect from the stress and chaos. Choose to get connected to yourself and the reason for the season by practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness means being connected to yourself in the present moment. The practice of mindfulness allows for increased awareness of the thoughts, feelings, and sensations happening in the present. It is the ability to connect with yourself, your surroundings, and the experiences happening in that moment. Rather than being distracted by the past or future, being present enables us to enjoy the moments that are happening right now. As the holidays approach, use these tips to help you focus on the present.
1. Breathe, connect, repeat! Mindful breathing, meaning being connected to your breath, is the quickest way to bring yourself into the present moment. Intentional breathing allows you to be connected and aware of the now. When you notice your thoughts getting away from the present, take a deep breath and refocus your energy to the festivities at hand.
2. Be mindful of how you are spending your time. The best way to begin a mindful holiday season is to choose with purpose. In the time between Thanksgiving and New Years it is easy to have obligations each weekend, which can lead to stress and exhaustion. Instead of feeling pressure to attend every event, choose wisely and exercise discretion.
3. Practice saying no. Saying yes to every invitation will likely make for a very stressful month. Instead, find some balance in your agenda by making time for the things that are energizing instead of draining.
4. Stick to the choices that you have made. Being mindful means enjoying what is not what could be. Remind yourself why you chose to do what you are doing and give yourself the chance to be present without letting guilt or second guessing get in the way.
5. Leave expectations at the door. Minimizing expectations and judgment allows you to appreciate moments for what they are, not what you think they should be. Instead of expecting your cookie-decorating party to be a perfectly coordinated event and getting upset with yourself if something fails, be in the moment and enjoy the event as it happens.
6. Balance the busyness with self-care. It is nearly impossible to be completely stress-free during the holidays so be sure to reward yourself for getting through the stress. Balance a hectic shopping trip with a peaceful coffee break. Prepare for a large family gathering by having a relaxing walk prior.
7. Choose to find the best in each situation. That holiday party you thought would be a blast might be a bust; enjoy it anyways. Be present, laugh, enjoy. Being mindful does not give you control over situations, but it does give you control over how you respond to them.
Enjoy the moment by being present and have a happy holiday season!