In our home, the kids usually comment on my level of enthusiasm during the holidays with a smirk sprinkled with humour, followed by “will you be baking those cookies I like ?”.
The holidays are a lovely time of year; time for reconnecting with friends and family, celebrating traditions and making new ones. However for many, it also means stressing about “buying the perfect gift”, creating that “Martha Stewart” feel at home, worrying about weight gain, financial stressors, the list goes on.
I thought perhaps you would allow me to share some of my Mindful practice with you, with the hope that this might be the holiday focused more on the joys of laughter, sharing and giving that the season brings to us. Some of these practices are easy enough to include the whole family.
- Breathe Deeply – Every morning as you wake up take time to take a
few deep breaths. By that I mean the chest expanding , belly hanging out kind of breaths. This is not the time to suck in that tummy. Breathe out through your mouth slowly. Repeat that process 3 – 10 times, focusing on the experience of breathing. You might be able to do this 3 times before you realize that your attention in on the million things you have to accomplish today – that is okay. Just go back to focusing on your breathing. Just remember it can only get better.
- Eat Slowly – As you sip your first coffee, tea or eat your meals, take time to savour it. Enjoy the aroma, the feel of it in your mouth, the warmth of the cup in your hands.
- Be Present – Getting gifts is an amazing experience during the holidays but if you ask your family and friends, they would tell you the most valuable gift you can give them is the gift of your time. Do things together, make memories, bake, sing and laugh together. Think about your memories of the holidays. Most likely, you will relate not to the most expensive gift you got but the simple things like making a snowman, picking and decorating your tree, grandma’s cookies or carolling by the fire.
- Practice Empathy – If you happen to encounter someone having a bad day, try to put yourself in their shoes. Maybe the store clerk was short with you because she’s been on her feet all day taking extra shifts so she can have a Christmas dinner for her family, or your client may be stressed because this is the first Christmas they are spending without their loved one. Take a deep breath and give them a smile or a kind word.
- Be Grateful – This is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Each night before you go to bed, take the time to be grateful for 5 things at least. Be thoughtful about people you met, the seemingly serendipitous events of the day, people that support you – even simple things like that sticky kiss from your 5 year old. You will be amazed at how your heart expands and warms up.
Mindfulness is a cultivated practice. If you would like to share in our mindfulness meditation practice or attend our workshops, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. or for more information you may visit our website at www.mindfulbeing.ca