Friday 15 December 2023
Practising mindfulness & gratitude during the festive season
Do you find the festive season overwhelming? Many people find this time of year stressful, frantically searching for gifts, trying to please your family, your spouse’s family, the pressure of hosting, the miles of travelling… It’s no wonder we feel like we need another holiday after the Christmas holiday! But there are ways to ease through this time of year. Here are some mindful tips to get you started.
When you feel overwhelmed by the chaos of the holiday season, ask yourself these questions:
Can I find a way to make this stressful moment pleasant?
You’ve been stuck in traffic on the motorway for 25 minutes. Try putting on an uplifting album and tap your foot or dance in your seat! Look up to the sky and realise that in the whole scheme of things it doesn’t matter if you’re late. There are many ways to turn a frustrating situation into more relieving moments.
Can I slow down, take a breath and be more mindful?
When you’re rushed wrapping a mountain of Christmas presents, try inhaling deeply and exhaling your tension out of your body and mind. Look at your progress rather than what’s ahead of you. Be mindful and watch how the sellotape glistens in the twinkly lights of the Christmas tree, the crisp sound of the scissors cutting through paper or the satisfaction of seeing your wrapped presents piled up infront of you.
Can I practice gratitude in this moment?
Your kids are running around the kitchen like headless chickens whilst you are preparing the Christmas dinner. Instead of getting stressed and perhaps raising your voice to your children, think of 3 positive things. My children are happy and having fun! I will still get the dinner cooked, it may just take me a little longer. I am cooking to please my family and make Christmas Day special.
Don’t let your New Year’s resolutions set you up for failure
This year I read a book called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. It’s been a revelation to me! It’s all about working towards your dreams in tiny stages which you build up over time in order to reach your goal. If you’d like to get more exercise in 2022, start by simply putting on your running shoes. You don’t even have to go running, this is just the first tiny habit. Next time after putting your trainers on, try doing some lunges to warm up for your potential run. Then the next time try running for 1 minute and build up your time from there. There is no rush, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and you will get there.
It’s ok not to be perfect
I used to approach Christmas with perfectionism, writing my cards with my neatest possible handwriting or decorating the tree perfectly with no more than one decoration on each branch.
Remind yourself that things may not be exactly how you intended. Neda Gould, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Mindfulness Programme says “It’s OK if it’s not perfect. Imperfection is healthy and normal. For some of us, it might just take a little practice”