So often when planning for the holiday season we can get stressed. Whether dealing with family dynamics, planning to navigate holiday parties or fitting in family time in busy holiday schedules. So I have put together a list of mindfulness tips to help reduce stress and bring a calming peace to your holiday season.
Mindfulness allows us to be open and aware of each moment as it happens. This helps us be present, both for ourselves to enjoy each moment as it happens but also for our time with others. Mindfulness has been proven to show improved relationships, increase empathy, develop self-awareness, reduced stress and anxiety.
Be open to feeling all of your emotions.
Have you ever found yourself in tears watching a holiday play? Or found yourself missing those who are not with you? Or overwhelmed with joy?
Holidays can bring up a lot of emotions from all the planning and travel bringing changes in sleep patterns etc. Happiness, guilt and even overwhelm. It can bring forward reminders of loss, grief or bring a feeling of loneliness. Plan to give yourself space to acknowledge emotions as they happen. They are not only helpful to allow, you can honor yourself by facing them as a moment in time.
Be open to the emotions of others.
You won’t be the only one facing emotion. Observing your family and friends gives you an opportunity to provide support and love. Not only will see opportunities to support another, but this creates a closeness in your relationship.
Build your compassion toolbox.
There are so many ways to show that you care, through simply observing a situation you are holding space for yourself. In this time you can ask yourself questions about how you are feeling and what your go to method of showing your care shows up.
Feeling like giving a gift? Ask your self “what am I trying to communicate with this gift? What other choices do you I have to show how I’m feeling? Could you express your thoughts in words? Through time?
Let go of self judgment and expectations of others.
Conflict often occurs when expectations are not met. Whether we are blaming ourselves or another the underlying problem is the expectation. By addressing this first we are able to identify if the expectation was built on what we wanted or needed. Or if the expectation is grounded in ability and capacity.
It is helpful to notice when you feel judgement to observe what is really happening. How or where do you feel the judgement? What do you wish was different? How would it change the result? It can be really hard to let go of criticism completely, it will take practice. So allow yourself to simply notice it happening and allow yourself space to step back instead of stepping into it.
Practice active listening.
It’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed with stimulation, especially in the holidays with full houses. Especially during a holiday get together where so many are engaging all at once. But this is a wonderful time to practice active listening skills. You could be surprised by what you learn about your listening skills. Do you notice changes in body language, tone and volume of voice and can you hear their message not just the words they are speaking.
Some tips is to observe your distractions. As yourself how loud is the music? Is there a better environment for this conversation? Is your phone buzzing in your pocket? Can you hear someone else’s perspective without wanting to correct it or share your own?
Let go of what is getting in your way.
Holidays often bring back memories of childhood and traditions making it a perfect time to fall into old patterns. Competitiveness with siblings, old arguments and competing egos can get in the way of a happy holiday. Simply notice your thoughts and feelings that you may be carrying from the past. This is an incredible opportunity to allow forgiveness and create change.
Limit “should’s” and be aware of what you need.
It’s easy to feel pressure to buy the perfect gift, meet the expectations of others or to attend every party. Meeting these expectations can lead to resentment, frustration and even burnout. Allow yourself to reflect on how you are feeling, observing specifically how the expectation is affecting you. Give yourself space to allow what you need and give yourself time to self-care.
Practice self-care and compassion.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “giving season” and forget to take care of yourself. Between preparing, extra events and travel we often fall out of our normal patterns. Taking time to plan in your exercise, making sure you get a full nights sleep helps you recharge each day. You’ll thank yourself when you are able to be more attentive, calm and able to react to situations in the way you want. This kindness to yourself will make it possible to be more to be more giving to others.