The holidays can be a wonderful time to relax, recharge and connect with loved ones. But it can also be a time when all the work and hustle put into meeting expectations can feel overwhelming. Fighting crowds, managing invites, cooking and cleaning, and indulging in food and drink can all take a toll on our body, mind, emotions and senses. Not to mention the anticipation of being in larger groups once again as we return to (new) normal life, which can be stress-inducing to many. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Do the holidays different this year by implementing the following mindfulness practices designed to help regulate and reset, so you can be more present and truly enjoy the magic of the holidays:
Notice what happens in your physical body when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. Where in your body do you feel it?
What does it feel like? Become acquainted with these feelings, so you can watch for and better manage them in the future.
Reflect on what thoughts are coming up for you when you feel anxious or overwhelmed. Pay attention to your thoughts and the story they are telling you. Whether that story is positive or negative, simply notice the thoughts.
Pause. Breath and create some space for your mind and body to ground, settle and calm.
Ask yourself some important questions. What do I really want to do in this situation? What is holding me back?
Act with confidence. Once you have decided what you want to do with a clear mind have confidence in your decision and actions.
This process of taking a moment to note what might be stirring up emotional reactions and why is vital because overwhelm is a tricky emotion. It causes our nervous system to swiftly shift into the fight/flee/freeze response without knowing what triggered it, possibly leading to some non-festive behaviours. But by properly equipping your mind and body you can better manage holiday hecticness, and cultivate excitement rather than uncertainty in looking forward to the moments of joy that lay ahead.
For those who are interested in going deeper and receiving ideas, tools and exercises for how you and your whole family can be more present and truly enjoy the magic of the holidays, we encourage you to join our free Digital Discovery program. Digital Discovery members will receive weekly holiday tips focused on topics such as movement, nutrition, breathing, meditation, self-care and purpose.