I was blessed to grow up in a home where Christmas was an absolutely cherished and magical time of year. My family appreciates every cozy tradition, decoration and snowflake made sacred by countless lovely Christmases. Every year, one special family member (who shall remain nameless) even adds a festive pine bough and bow to the log cabin at a local park, because 'why not?' The world could always use more cheer.
I know that not every family or holiday is so idyllic, but the way that I experience the holidays is actually made possible by MY attitude...not that of my family or those that I surround myself with.
I can enjoy the holidays and the time leading up to them by practicing a few simple behaviors that were modeled to me within my family.
5 tips for holiday mindfulness:
1) Prioritize: What's most important to you? What are you actually celebrating? Focus on that. Prioritize your schedule and resist getting caught up in the 'to-do list' part of the holidays. How much of those tasks really matter, anyway? The more frenzied, distracted or busy you are, the less joyful you will feel. Prioritizing allows room for what's most meaningful, restorative and supportive for YOU.
2) Make a Conscious Choice: Decide now how you'd like to control your attitude about the holidays, your family, you past and your perceived future. Choose to bring the love, stillness, mindfulness and dedication that you might experience through yoga directly into your holiday. Bring love into every interaction you have. Every email, task and mindless part of your routine can be made sacred if you're willing to pay attention.
3) Set Boundaries: Create healthy boundaries by choosing how to spend your time, energy and money wisely. Listen to your body, trust your intuition and resist the temptation to 'people-please.'
4) Allow Room for Change: Many people get trapped within the idea of sacred traditions or customs surrounding a holiday. Routine and family traditions are great, but stringent customs can also suck the life out of any natural creativity, growth and change that we all naturally experience. Notice any traditions or ideals you do hold on to and decide if they feel uplifting or burdensome.
5) Sit Still: (Sitting still is my very best tip, so I've saved it for last!)
In a culture full of screens, instant gratification and multi-tasking, there's a lot to be said for the real peace found in stillness. If you never allow time to be still, especially during a busy season, then you'll never develop the patience or attention for gratitude. There is no time or place to notice the simple pleasures in your life if you are choosing to complicate or fill up every moment. Without taking the time to be still, you won't see beauty in tiny moments.
Over the years, I've found that I can continue to love what I love and find joy in seemingly joyless situations not because I am surrounded by people wearing rose-colored glasses, but because I choose to be still. Take time to look out the window, sit with your thoughts, or just close your eyes and breathe.
If you need a little more support, ideas or guidance this season, contact me to set up a consultation, an online Skype session, life coaching or private yoga instruction. I would love to help you and I promise I won't make you cut snowflakes with me. :)