Breathe. Take a step back. Focus on now.
We all know the basics of mindfulness. However, when things start moving quickly, as they often do over the Novermber-December holidays, it’s easy to forget. Stress can cast a shadow over the holidays – but these holiday mindfulness tips can help beat stress before it makes its mark.
Let Your Emotions Come
For many people, the holidays invoke a whole host of mixed emotions. The decorations and the music can bring both the warm, fuzzy side of nostalgia and a sense of loss and longing over days gone by. Gift-giving can invoke both excitement and anxiety over giving (and receiving) the perfect gift. For those who find themselves alone, the holidays can exacerbate feelings of isolation.
This is normal. Expect it and accept it. Don’t bury your negative emotions for the sake of playing the perfect host – give yourself time and space to acknowledge your feelings, and if possible, share them with someone you trust.
Know Your Needs
Once December rolls around, you often find yourself with a whole lot more on your plate than you did in previous months. Even if your family eschews the mandatory gift-giving, it’s likely you’ll be expected to appear at a number of holiday-related functions, which can ramp up the stress for those who find these events difficult. The marathon of obligations can be exhausting.
Don’t let your own needs get lost in the holiday hustle. You can’t please everyone, and sometimes, it’s better to sit out for your own sake. If you find yourself the host of these events, find someone who can help share the responsibilities so you have time to care for yourself as well.
Just think: a few weeks from now, you’ll probably be sitting down with your family for a traditional holiday meal. Does the scene fill you with excitement? Or did a little bit of dread just enter your heart?
Some people have nothing but good feelings for their families. But for many, family gatherings are a mixed bag. There are happy reunions, to be sure, but there are also old grudges and difficult memories.
By now, you’re probably already looking ahead to 2018. While it’s important not to dwell too much on things yet to come, living in the past can be just as destructive. The holidays can be a helpful opportunity to contemplate things you’ve been holding onto, and let go.