Holidays and how to survive them…...
Whilst the Christmas holidays can be the most wonderful times of the year, they can be very stressful for many. Well, a lot of things need to be worried about – the gifts, foods, family gatherings, reunions, parties, etc. We all have this desire to meet other people’s expectations, impress them, and make them happy.
But all these can make us feel anxious and stressed to the max so that we end up not enjoying the holiday season at all. You might ask how you can avoid or reduce this, one effective strategy is to stay mindful. What is mindfulness? It is quite simply paying full whole-hearted attention. Being mindful allows you to keep track of your emotions, thoughts and feelings. It helps you find balance and prevent yourself from experiencing stress and anxiety.
So in the busiest time of the year, how can you stay mindful? Here are some tips for you to try.
Define a mission for celebrating holidays.
Take some time to think through your holidays. What do the holidays mean to you? What’s your ideal holiday like? What are you most thankful for? What were your most cherished holiday memories and what can you do to re-create those memories? Focusing in on what you want and what really means something special to you helps you to get exactly that in your holiday.
Don’t forget your “me-time”.
It may be the busiest time of the year but you still don’t want to forget about yourself. Make “me-time” a daily habit. Even for just 30 minutes, engage in activities that relax you, nourish your creativity and give you a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. Having a warm bath and candles, going early to bed with a good book to read a few chapters, watching your favourite film again, etc. When you feel calm and energised, you can perform you responsibilities and carry out your holiday plans in a more efficient way.
Think before you spend.
The financial side of the holiday season can be quite a burden. It’s easy to get spurred by advertisements, and holiday sales and specials. But over-spending can leave you feeling distressed and in debt. So before you handover your credit card, think and plan first. Ask yourself – what do I want to give this person? How much am I willing to spend and how much can I afford to spend? It’s a great strategy to list down names of the people you wish to give gifts and the items you think they would appreciate the most. It’s not always about the price. Doing the sums prior to gift shopping can save you from financial burden comes January.
Consider doing mini meditations.
It can be difficult but it’s definitely worth trying. Before shopping, before you start your day, before you start preparing the foods, before attending a social gathering, and before everything else. Spare at least 5 or 10 minutes to forget about your worries, plans and all other things – just empty your mind, sit comfortably and focus your attention to your breathing. Then conduct a body check – feel where the tension is and relax that area(s). Pay attention to the now and you will find peace of mind despite the hassle and stress the holidays bring.
Make giving more mindful.
Do you give just because others expect you to or because you find joy in it? When you write Christmas cards this year, take time to say a few words that express the reasons why you love or appreciate the recipient. This is the best time to practise gratitude. Maybe try writing a greeting card for yourself too. As you prepare for another year, take time to look back on the blessings you have received for the past 12 months. Congratulate yourself for being able to surpass the big challenges you have encountered this year and be thankful for the positive experiences you had. Read it every time you’re feeling anxious, tired or stressed.
Ask for help.
It’s perfectly okay to engage others and ask for help. You need to know your limitations – what you can and cannot do. Write your “to-do” list and assess what tasks you can do on your own and what you can pass on to others. Many family and friends are happy to help. You just have to ask.
Focus on people and relationships.
Don’t get too caught up in the kitchen workload. Come on, like everyone else, you also deserve to relax and enjoy. Sit down with your friends and family, start a conversation, laugh and enjoy the moment. Also, take time to establish new relationships and repair some broken fences. Call a friend or relative you haven’t spoken with for a long while and express your holiday greetings..
Christmas is a good time to practice mindfulness. Pay attention to each person you meet, and to every sensation you experience. And carry on the spirit of mindfulness as New Year comes.