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How to Have a Mindful Holiday Season

The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, and even more so when you are in

charge of hosting a holiday party, having family stay with you, are experiencing financial

restraints, or have a lot of responsibilities.

This can all take away a lot of the joy of the holiday season, no matter which holiday

your family celebrates. But with mindfulness, you can learn how to let the unnecessary

stresses go, and live in the moment. It allows you to really appreciate every moment

you are given throughout the holidays and finally enjoy yourself again.

What is Mindfulness?

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t! Mindfulness is simply the act of focusing on the

present moment. You take out the judgment, regret, or guilt, and simply

accept what is. The more you can be mindful during the holidays (and the rest of the

year), the more grateful and stress-free you become.

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice year-round and is something everyone can benefit

from no matter what they are dealing with. But during the holidays, there are even more

ways it can help you.

1. Why the Holidays Are Such a Challenge

Why are holidays so stressful? It seems like it would be a joyous time to spend with

your family, but the opposite is often true. You are trying so hard to make everything

perfect, give your children memories they can cherish, and make not-often-seen relatives feel at home. It is easy to lose yourself (and your sanity) along the way.

Understanding where the stress comes from helps you to know where to focus on

improving your mindfulness this time of year.

There is a lot to do – And often with very little time. You still have your other

responsibilities on top of the numerous things you have to juggle during the holidays.

Financial issues – Many people feel the stress of figuring out how to pay for

decorations, gifts, parties, traveling, and other holiday expenses.

The expectations are different from reality – Even after you work hard to make

everything perfect, it doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. This is where

mindfulness really comes in handy.

Ways Mindfulness Can Help You

Being more mindful during the holidays helps you with all of this and more. It allows you

to stay present and put all of those expectations aside so you can just enjoy the

moments you get with your family.

You learn to accept the moment – Every moment you live is a gift. Sure, it might not

always be what you expect, but during the holidays, it isn’t about being perfect. It is

about enjoying yourself, being with family and friends, and having more gratitude for

what you have in your life.

Mindfulness helps you slow down – Taking a pause through mindfulness is one of

the best things you can do to stay present during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Memories are treasured – If you constantly are just thinking about the next thing you

need to do during the holidays, it will be hard to hold on to these memories. Do you

want to remember the holidays as a time you spent with your loved ones, or as a time you

were so busy you missed out?

2. How to Stay Present in the Middle of Chaos and Stress

It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Looking beyond everything you are dealing with

this holiday season, learning to let go, and taking the stress away. To be present in every

moment. But with just a few simple techniques and mindset shifts, you can be more

mindful during the holidays.

Practice Beforehand

If you have a little time before the holidays begin, it is a great time to start practicing

your mindfulness habits. This doesn’t require anything more than just sitting quietly and

focusing on whatever you are doing at that time. It might mean being quiet during a

meal, sitting in your bedroom at night and pondering how you feel at that time, or being

mindful while taking a walk.

Release Judgment

A very big part of mindfulness is letting go of judgment and guilt. This is not just

releasing judgment on others, but on yourself, and the situations you find yourself in during

the holiday season. Stop worrying about how you look, if the food is good enough, if the

venue is perfect, and what others are experiencing. These thought patterns are negative

and going to make it very difficult to be mindful and appreciate the present moment.

Have Mindful Meals

Mindfulness can work during any event or experience you have during the holidays, but

a great time to practice it is while having meals with others. It can be your family holiday

meal, at a party, or just at home to de-stress.

During your meals, shut off all distractions. This means no phone, no TV, and no music.

Sit quietly and think about how you feel right then, during your meal. Focus on the

flavors, the colors, and the textures of what you are eating. Consider how you are feeling.

Eat without judgment, guilt, or any other emotions that don’t add to the satisfaction of

that meal.

Take a Pause

Being mindful is nothing more than taking a pause. It is so easy to get wrapped up in

what you should have done, what you still have to do, and what is or isn’t perfect during the

holidays. When you find your mind wandering instead of enjoying time with family or

friends, just take a pause. Sit for a few minutes alone in the quiet and bring yourself

back to this moment.

Focus on the Moment, Not the Big Picture

Lastly, remember to focus on the present, not the big picture. It isn’t about having the

perfect Christmas memory, but each little thing that made your Christmas memorable.

3. Using Mindfulness After the Holidays are Over

Once you have mastered being mindful during the stressful holiday season, it will

become even easier to use it during the rest of the year. Starting with the new year!

Here are some ways to keep being mindful after the holidays and into the new year.

Use Mindfulness for Your Resolutions

Before the new year begins, you will probably choose some resolutions. These are

goals you want to focus on in the year ahead. It is a wonderful time to feel like you get a

fresh start, a new beginning. But it is also really important that you understand what you

really want, and what your passions are, not just what you think is expected of you.

This is where mindfulness is going to be really useful.

Think of the moment right now – What are you thinking about the most at this

moment? What is bringing you joy? What is stressing you out? Being mindful NOW is

what can help you figure out what resolutions will help you in the future.

Keep being non-judgmental and non-critical – Mindfulness takes a lot of the

judgment and critical thinking about yourself, your past, and your choices, reducing

your stress and just allowing you to make mistakes without regret. Keep doing this and

you think of goals for the year and try to remember what makes you happy, not what

you feel you need to do to “make up” for mistakes of the past.

Be Mindful Year-Round

After the holidays are over and the year has begun, keep taking pauses, enjoying your

moments, expressing gratitude, and just enjoying your life. The more you can be

mindful during each of those moments in your life, the happier you will be/

One way to focus on mindfulness is by keeping a Gratitude Journal. Our 30-Day Gratitude Journal helps you focus on present blessings rather than on past mistakes and future worries.

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