It may seem a little early but the question ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ has been surfacing lately as the holidays approach and we anticipate the upcoming season. The answer, however, is different for everyone and is fueled with many things depending on the person.
For some, it is a welcome time of rest, fun, perhaps family and friends. For others, it is a time of lonliness and memories. For others still, it is a time of busyness and endless stress. All too often I hear anxiety associated with this season whether it is shopping stress (first world problem), family dynamics, or general busyness. I wonder… are we willing to settle for this every.single.year? If your holidays seem like they just should not be this stressful, remember it can only ever be up to you to change it. Never wait for the people around you to change!
The Power of Mindfulness: In mindfulness class last week one woman (I have her permission to repeat) talked about how she goes to the gym 3 times a week. Same place, same time. As the human mind does, she began to get bored with her routine. She didn’t want to be there anymore. She resisted, resented and began to dread her gym days. I imagine her mind said “Oh no! what now if no gym?”. Rather than stop, change or endure, she practiced mindfulness. She began to breathe into her exercises, her repetitions and routine. She saw the quality of her moments there rather than the quantity her mind was counting. She relaxed into each and every movement. In other words, she became present. It changed everything and she now looks forward to her gym days without getting bored. Mindfulness was the end of boredom. This is a game changer.
If you feel stressed, anxious or resentful, try it. Breathe and relax into this moment, then the next, then the next. It;s only your mind telling you stories that you are bored. What is boredom? It’s a thought.
So, try this today, this week, this Christmas:
Mindful Eating: Instead of rushing through your meals, take time at the beginning to admire the food on your plate, the colour, the shape, the fact that you even have food on a plate. Then, slowly, noticing every action, use your strange things called a fork and knife to bring a bite to your lips. Smell, taste, feel and swallow. This can turn a raisin into a feast. If you struggle with weight issues mindful eating will help you to recognize when you are actually full. Try for one meal a day.
Mindful Walking/Driving: If you can walk, you are very fortunate. If you drive, are you there? We walk 10,000 steps a day, how many are we actually there for instead of in pursuit of somewhere else. Try slowing down, noticing the walk as you would if you had a child with you, smell, observe the tiniest things. Miracle are all around you. If you drive, be there for one drive today. Before you start the car, breathe and relax. Then notice every little bit about the routine drive that you do. What is new today? Alot.
Mindful Listening: This is the most challenging mindful practice of all. Make it a challenge for you today. In one conversation, be completely there. Listen with your whole heart. Give the talker your full attention and don’t rush to reply. Be aware of your impulse to interrupt or thinking about what you will say. Slow down, and listen. This changes relationships. In fact, how can you have a deep relationship unless you are listening?
*** Beware: the above practices have side effects of deep satisfaction and happiness***
My gift to you today is a free download of “Top Ten Anxiety Tips” right here, that you can start using now to manage stress and have a more enjoyable holiday.
I hope you find the useful. Remember, when your nervous system is in balance, everything else is too.
We only have 4 more Breathe to Heal classes left! Come and join us tonight as we use the power of breath, mindful movement and relaxation to start the week feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Stay tuned for the upcoming Mindful Holidays 5 Day Challenge!