Do you feel more pressure than peace during the months of November and December? Our holiday culture is sent into maximum warp speed by the retail culture. Christmas trees show up in shopping malls in October. Halloween candy appears on shelves the day after Labor Day.
It is possible to stay mindful, connected, calm, and to enjoy the holidays as they arrive.
Tips to Staying Grounded During the Holidays
Sit and Be Still
BEFORE the swirling craziness and holiday pressures begin, take the time to sit and be still. Close your eyes and spend five minutes in quiet. Allow the only sound to be the sound of your own breath, inhaling and exhaling. Once you feel settled and relaxed here, begin to think about your family holiday traditions. What happy memory immediately comes to mind? Perhaps there is something that you imagine your family doing that is a new tradition. Spend a few moments dwelling on these visions and memories, and begin to form a personal intention for your holiday season. What would you like to allow time for? Are there traditions from your childhood that you would like to continue with your own children? What would you like to let go?
Allow the happy memories to fill your heart with feelings of love and joy. Open your eyes and spend a few moments writing down your intention. Place this in a spot where you will see it every day.
Give the Gift of Experience
Focus on experiences rather than things. Experiences can be enjoyed by the family together, building connection and memories. Things lose interest, get lost, broken, or are outgrown. In five years, what will your child or family remember more? Think back over the past year to experiences that your child really enjoyed. These are the special gifts that you can give to your child again. Is there something that just the two of you can participate in together? Children with siblings really appreciate one-on-one time with a parent!
Practice Giving Back
If you are not already volunteering regularly, meet with your family to discuss what you can do for others who are lacking. Can you spend a couple hours in service? Could you purchase handwarmers or items for the homeless? Visit an AngelTree with your child and let her select a child to shop for. Do you have an elderly neighbor that you could invite to the holiday dinner?
Plan Restorative Time
Knowing that there will be many extra events and invitations during the next two months at school, work, or family gatherings, plan restorative time on your calendar now. Whether it is a massage, a bubble bath, an outdoor hike, coffee with a friend, a yoga class, or a workout class, schedule time for this each week. This way, you can feel energized to tackle the other functions that might ordinarily drain you. Try not to feel that you must do everything. Give yourself permission to say “no”. Choose the events that you say “yes” to in a mindful way. Really listen to your inner self when making these decisions. Remember that the holidays are a special time for your immediate family, and return to your personal intention of how you would like to celebrate this year.
When you feel overwhelmed:
At times, the holiday music, decorations, and barrage of commercialism can be over-stimulating. Turn off the car radio, experience quiet wherever you are, and then find time at home to be still with your breathing once again.