Christmas is an exciting time of year, but it can be stressful. Are you feeling calm and in control or overwhelmed and frazzled? To help give you the best festive season ever, I wanted to share my top 5 mindfulness tips.
1. Start the day with the right intentions: If you wake up feeling overwhelmed about the day ahead, how you react to this feeling is key.
Try this: Sit on the edge of your bed and focus 100% on your breathing, it can help you shrug off the negativity, feel calmer and able to face the day.
2. Do what you can: We are all absolute superstars but we are not super human!
If you are setting unrealistic goals for yourself, agreeing to too much work, accepting every social invitation or stressing over finding that ‘perfect’ Christmas gift? It might all be too much. Yep, ok, so you can’t just drop everything but ask yourself if you have to do everything?
Try this: When you find yourself feeling like you're drowning in your 'to-do' list. Stop and a take a few mindful breaths or do a 3-minute breathing space to gather the mind and think clearly about what is achievable and what can wait. Click HERE to listen to the Breathing Space audio.
3. Mindful Wrapping! I love wrapping, well, I begin the mammoth wrap fest loving it, but quite quickly my back starts aching, the elusive sellotape end is out to get me and I'm sure the presents have been breeding! Sound familiar? Acceptance of the task in hand and giving 100% of your attention to it can turn it into something more positive.
Try this: Mindfully plan out time in your diary for wrapping, whether that be a short amount of time each day or doing it all in one hit! Choose your wrapping paper, ribbons and labels carefully, if you love them, you'll enjoy working with them. Sit or stand to wrap in a comfy position, maybe with the presents on a table to save your back (take my advice on that one!) Put the phone, laptop, kindle, food or dog down and give 100% of your attention to the wrapping. Taking your time to wrap neatly will result in a pile of pressies to be proud of and the lucky recipients will love it too!
4. Mindful Eating: Food, glorious food… So many delicious delights to be had at this time of year but to avoid investing in a bucket load of indigestion tablets and elasticated waistbands, it might be helpful to know when to stop? Also, wouldn’t it be amazing if we actually tasted and savoured our festive feasting?
Try this: Next time you become aware of yourself reaching out for that tempting titbit, stop, take a mindful breath and question if you are eating out of hunger or habit? It is completely up to you what you do after that, but whatever you chose, at least you did it with awareness. Switch off any distractions and give 100% of your attention to eating. Satisfy the senses by really taking in the look, smells, sounds, touch (if eating with your hands!) and of course the taste of the food. Put your cutlery down between each mouthful and chew slowly, noticing the taste and texture changes as you do. It takes a long time for the signal of a full gut to get to your brain, which is why it is easy to over eat. With mindful eating we become fuller and satisfied sooner, maybe even eating less than we usually would.
If you’re going to have another cheeky mince pie enjoy every mouthful, I say!
5. Enjoying the big day! All the food shopping, present buying, wrapping and preparation has been leading up to the big day, but how often are we truly present to enjoy it? If you find it a struggle with the stress of hosting, navigating through family dynamics and generally keeping up appearances use mindfulness throughout to keep your feet on the ground and enjoy every moment.
Try this: Start the day with the right intentions - see tip #1! You might strive to have the perfect day, but being open to however the day might roll with no expectations will help you to simply enjoy the experience. Stopping for a mindful pause every time you notice yourself becoming stressed. Be less judgemental of yourself and others. You are good enough and you've done enough! Giving 100% of your attention to whatever task you're doing, whether that is prepping the sprouts or talking to your guests will help you to enjoy it more. If tensions are running high and you're worried about reacting, take yourself off for a 3-minute breathing space to cool off and respond in a more favourable way.
Be present and enjoy the festive season! I hope some of these tips may help you to have the most fabulous Christmas, if you would like some help in understanding mindfulness, why not join me in the new year on one of our workshops in January CLICK HERE to find out more. In the meantime I wish you all a very happy, healthy and mindful New Year!
Lots of love, Tricia