The holidays are here and there’s no denying the stress-inducing disruption to our regular schedules. In order to avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle while the holidays whiz by yet again, practice these tips for mindfulness to enjoy this time to the maximum.
1. Everything does not have to be perfect. The perfect gift, the perfect bow, the perfect dinner – those things are all a myth. The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect is all internal. Just ask those around you. Your kids don’t care that the gingerbread man cookies are misshapen, they just want to decorate them with you and eat them together. Release yourself from that unrealistic expectation.
2. Stop judging others. Especially during this time of year, setting aside your judgments will allow you to relax around those family members who cause you stress. Don’t be so hard on your mother-in-law, laugh at your crazy uncle, and let your sister bring her weird boyfriend to Christmas dinner. When you start to feel your hackles going up at that irritating relative, think to yourself “why is this person acting this way” and the answer just might be they are insecure or trying too hard to please. When you stop judging, others around you relax, too.
3. Look at it through the eyes of a child. The magic of the holiday season is all around us. Stop and ponder the nativity scene set out in front of the church. Marvel at the holiday lights around the shopping center. Allow yourself to get excited instead of bracing for disappointment.
4. To truly practice mindfulness, all you really have to do is focus on your breathing. Each breath in fills your body with nourishment and each exhalation releases tension. You can do this while you’re baking, driving, or brushing your teeth. By taking a moment to focus on the here and now, you’ll come to appreciate the little things. And over time, it’s these little things, like holding your spouse’s hand as you shop or reading a Christmas story to your child, that become the big things.