Welcome to The Holiday Sanity Blog Tour, 20 days of tips, tools, techniques, and perspectives from me (and 19 other coaches) with LOVE this holiday season. I’m so excited to be a part of this tour and connect with a group of like-minded coaches that have such a passion for helping others.
When Megan Hale & Jenn Scalia shared their vision for this blog tour with me, I knew I wanted to be a part of it because the holidays are such a beautiful and joyous time to celebrating with loved ones, but often, we get so caught up in relationship drama, hunger games and trying to be everything to everyone that we forget the spirit of the holiday season. The Holiday Sanity Blog Tour will serve as your guide to make it through the holidays with grace, ease and feeling the incredible abundance this season brings.
So without further ado, please enjoy my insight into getting through this holiday season with grace, ease, and well-being.
‘Tis the season for vacations, parties, family gatherings and some much needed rest and relaxation. But it can also be an incredibly overwhelming time of year for many people. There are decorations to put up, plans to make, invites to send out, gifts to buy, presents to wrap, parties to attend, groceries to buy, meals to make and cleaning to do.
With all the hustle and bustle the holiday season brings, it’s no wonder setting aside time for quiet contemplation is almost an exercise in futility!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday rush, but have you ever noticed that when you’re so busy rushing to do, you forget to really just be? Rather than taking advantage of this joyous and happy time of year, you’re just focused on getting things done; forever racing against the clock. All that doing simply diminishes downtime, leaving you with little time to relax and regroup.
What would it be like to NOT look back at another Christmas that came and went in a flash, but instead to actually experience the love, joy and connection this season brings?
Regardless of what we are doing—whether it is eating or exercising, travelling or relaxing, conversing with others, each of these activities presents an opportunity for mindfulness. With that in mind, here are 6 easy ways to integrate mindfulness into this holiday season:
Numerous social gatherings, the stress of holiday shopping and out of town visitors can all be triggers for eating without abandon, and not being aware of what and how much food we are eating. While I am a big proponent for moderation, it’s the holidays and you should enjoy the delicious baked goods, wine-soaked parties, and delicious feasts you come to expect at this time of year. Mindful eating is not about denying yourself the pleasures of eating; it’s quite the opposite. It’s about enjoying whatever we eat fully. When you sit down to a meal, take a moment to really see the food in front of you, to smell the aromas, to let the flavors rest on your tongue before swallowing or picking up that next bite.
You’ve heard the old adage: “If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real.” Put this into practice with respect to your exercise routine this holiday season. Take a look at your schedule for the week and carve out some time to exercise every day. Whether it be hitting the gym, going to a yoga class or going for a walk, schedule it into your day and make it an appointment you absolutely cannot miss. Set yourself up for success by planning your daily activity and making it a non-negotiable.
Travel mindfully …
It is easy to let the disappointment of flight delays and traffic ruin your trip before it even begins. If you face some delays on during your holiday travels, take advantage of it to spend some time focusing on yourself. Maybe that means blasting Taylor Swift in the car and shaking it off! Or connecting your Bluetooth and giving an old friend a call. And better still, if you’re experiencing airport delays, be sure to take a mindful breath before speaking to that flight attendant. You aren’t the only one feeling the stress of the holidays and she may reward your empathy by assigning you to a better seat or offer you an extra pillow!
It might sound counterintuitive, but how often do you sit down to relax only to start thinking about all the things you “should” be doing? Sure, there are a million things we could be doing with our time and many of which are good and even productive ways to be spending our hours. But rather than contaminating your precious free time cleaning dishes, running errands, setting up coffee dates, schedule in 10 minutes of YOU time. For 10 full minutes, sit in silence, eyes closed and pay attention to your breath. Ditch the guilt. Enjoy your leisure time.
Epictetus said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. Really let that one sink in this holiday season. In your interactions with friends and family this year, really focus your complete attention on actively listening to the people who are speaking to you. Resist the urge to let your mind wander, interrupt or talk about yourself. You may just find you learn something from the people around you and you’ll certainly develop a deeper connection with those you hold dear.
Practice gratitude mindfully…
It can be so easy to focus on the negative, especially when there’s a lot going on during the holidays and you’re trying to make sure everything is just right. But there are so many things to be thankful for and when we are truly mindful, you automatically become aware of all the incredible things to be thankful for. No matter how big or small, you can usually find something you’re thankful for. Regardless of how the day went, go to bed every evening and make a list of 3 things you are grateful for that day. This practice will help you create and maintain positive thinking patterns.
When you live in the moment, your mind naturally settles down and your anxiety dissipates. And like anything new, it takes practice and conscious effort. But if you can make a commitment to yourself to stop from time to time, shift your attention away from your thinking, and pay mindful attention to your experience right now, it will go a long way in helping you enjoy the holiday season, and your life.