It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And with this wonderful time of year comes the annual flurry of festive activity! Suddenly, with gift buying, family, parties, lights, music, Christmas TV, eating, drinking and general merry making, you get carried along with the excitement with a moment to consider being mindful.
This is a fantastic time of year to practice mindfulness, with so much to notice and to appreciate. Read on to see how easy it can be to bring mindfulness into your festivities, you might even discover you had been practicing it all along!
Christmas is not a great time of year to stick to a routine; you might even forget what day of the week it is once you get into the swing of the 12 days! But to sustain you through the season, and to soften the blow when you dive back into your usual day-to-day, keeping a little structure will be helpful. So, try to keep to your normal sleeping pattern as erratic sleeping hours can lead to grogginess and a sleep deficit – we want to go back to work refreshed! If you usually exercise regularly, keep that up. If you usually meditate in the morning, stay with it. This will make you more centred and resilient through the holidays and help you to be open and receptive right the way through to new year!
2. Enjoy the Season
As usual you are rushing around; presents, cooking, family and kids all demand attention. That stuff is wonderful, part of the excitement of the time of year. But take a moment, perhaps of an evening when the house is quiet, to sit and be mindful of your festive surroundings. Take a silent moment to peer down the street and appreciate the twinkle of the houses in your neighbourhood. Peer into the starry sky on a crisp winters evening, reminisce about nostalgic seasonal memories, enjoy the snow falling past your window (if you are lucky enough to have any). Sit by the glow of the Christmas Tree and feel contented.
3. Get Creative
Arts, crafts and baking are fantastic grounding activities and known to be beneficial to a person’s wellbeing. Any creative task that uses your hands will focus all your attention and energy into one task – the very essence of mindfulness. Absorbing yourself in such an activity will alleviate any stress or anxiety you might be feeling and will create a period of calm in your festive celebrations (an especially good thing if you have kids to entertain).
It is a time of year where we tend to be a little less active than usual. So, an early morning stretch, a little yoga or a daily Pilates session will help to stretch out those muscles that have been relaxing and benefitting from all of that lovely sitting you have been doing.
5. Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is important in a season where it is so very easy to over indulge. With so many wonderful treats gracing our dining tables, it is only right that we take the time to truly appreciate them. Slow down, really taste your food, really enjoy its textures and aromas… after all, there is no rush. If you are new to mindful eating, we have a great blog to get you started: Mindful Eating – A Beginners Guide
6. Seasonal Songs
Christmas songs are such a huge part of the festive culture, and we all have a favourite. Next time your favourite ditty comes on give it the mindfulness treatment; stop what you are doing and listen. Notice the instruments, the lyrics, the singers, wait for that tiny favourite detail that you really love. Perhaps the song reminds you of a time or place from your own life, reflect on that, get lost in the music.
7. Festive Fragrances
Christmas is also a season of smells. The aromas of Christmas are rich, pungent, soothing and spicy even… there is no better time of year to appreciate our sense of smell. So, when you are cooking in your kitchen, sipping your mulled wine, walking in the woods, perusing your local Christmas market or are about to take a bite out of a hot mince pie, take a moment to appreciate an annual aroma that might not pass your nose again for another year!
If nothing else, Christmas is a time to appreciate and be grateful. Be mindful of all the wonderful things this festive season has afforded you; warmth, family, lovely food, pretty surroundings and thoughtful gifts. There are hundreds more things to be thankful for, no doubt. Just take a minute to think of the things you are really, truly thankful for.
Here’s to a joyous yet restful and mindful festive season!
By Chris Thomson
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