How to approach the Holidays Mindfully

With the holidays quickly approaching the likelihood of fitting one more thing into your already packed schedule may seem daunting. Chances are you already feel overwhelmed in keeping up with work and home responsibilities and the Holidays may seem more like a burden than a time of celebration.

Perhaps you are already dreading the obligatory “festive” mood. Perhaps you’ve experienced a loss this year that makes it hard to want to participate in celebrations you’ve enjoyed in the past. Perhaps with the state of the economy, it’s hard to be joyful.

Even if you are looking forward to the Holidays you may be concerned about fitting in the traditions of decorating, shopping, gift wrapping, parties, school plays for your kids/grandkids, cooking, baking (whew I just noticed I was holding my breath as I wrote all that!)

How do you practice mindfulness during the Holidays? When the pace of life has an added dimension of busyness, distraction, and expectations, instead of focusing on doing, focus on being.

Here are a few ideas of being fully present during the Holidays:

Use your senses to fully take to smells, sights, sounds, touch, and tastes of this time of year. Be aware of being fully present as you experience the various aspects of traditions and gatherings, by just paying attention.

Give yourself permission to do less of the decorating, gifts, and overindulging of baked goods and drinks. Notice what you experience as you keep your focus on being instead of doing.

– Genuinely listen to that difficult person you only see at the Family Holiday Meal. Practice seeing that person with eyes of compassion.

– If a wave of grief comes over as you think about losses from this past year, allow yourself to acknowledge whatever you are feeling. Notice the emotion associated with things being different, how things once were are no longer.

– Daily ask yourself, “What is most meaningful for me to focus on now?” Amidst your day to day routine, invitation to gatherings and Holiday festivities focus on what is most important for you to attend to.

Whether you are dreading the Holidays or looking forward to them, make a conscious choice to give the most precious gift of all – your presence.

portraitBonnie Artman Fox
Mindfulness Trainer and Coach


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