Mindfully Merry

Six ways to focus on presence more than presents this holiday season.

It happens every year. The holidays roll around and the calendar fills, the lists grow and we feel less like we’ve celebrated the holidays and more like we’ve been run over by them. 

Maybe this is why ‘being more mindful’ has become increasingly popular as a New Year’s resolution. But why wait ’til January? Here are six ways to start practicing mindfulness during the holiday season. Pick a tip or all six and be mindfully merry this year! 

Indulge, Mindfully 

It’s true, treats and temptations are everywhere. Instead of attempting to abstain, choose to savor. Pick up a favorite chocolate and appreciate the way the light bounces off the wrapper. Unwrap it slowly and inhale. Allow yourself to enjoy the smell of chocolate. Place it on your tongue and let the chocolate melt. Try not to bite it at all, just enjoy. Not only does using more of your senses increase your enjoyment but it will also slow you down … and keep you from eating too many! 

Accept Holiday Greetings 

Whether you send cards or not, how often do you glance at greetings you receive only to toss them into a pile? We don’t always take the time to appreciate the gesture. Worse still, sometimes we’re tempted to judge the cards we receive—or judge ourselves for not being as ‘good.’ Strive to receive greetings differently this year. With each card that comes in the mail, even if it’s just from your dentist, take a second to hold it. Contemplate the connection that you have with the sender and conjure a moment or memory with them that brings you joy and gratitude. 

Give the Present of Presence 

When you’re making your Christmas lists of things to buy, create another list of people whose presence fills your bucket. Schedule time to sip coffee with them, walk with them or shop with them. Thank them for their presence and thank yourself for making relationships a priority. 

Use Tech to Disconnect

How many times do we have to be told that our phones, though beautiful, useful tools, have increased our predispositions to anxiety and depression? This holiday season, take advantage of apps that help you disconnect. Calm, Moment, Headspace, Aura … the mindful app options are plentiful. 

Hone in on Hibernation

While you’re on your phone downloading a mindfulness app, hop on over to Amazon and buy a $10 alarm clock and a morning devotional book. Studies have shown that keeping your phone in your bedroom can mean you may get lower quality sleep. Charge your phone in another room and when your new alarm clock rings, start the day with a morning meditation instead of a social media/email check. Try it for a month, see how differently your days go! 

Bake Without Burden 

How often is baking accompanied by stress this season? Whether we need to get treats done in time for a party, or we’re trying to feed the whole family, baking isn’t fun when the pressure is packed on. Choose one day and one treat that goes beyond your level of expertise. Have no expectation of finishing with an edible product at the end. Aim for something from “Nailed It,” or “The Great British Bake Off.” Who cares if the flour spills or the fondant looks more offensive than festive; let it be fun! Revisit the wonder of creating something from practically nothing. Reflect on the awesome gift and power of having so many tools and resources at your fingertips. Take that gratitude and joy into the rest of your seasonal baking.

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