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Staying present in the Christmas season

Christmas is a time of happiness, celebration, and connection. But it’s easy to get swept away by the hustle and bustle of the festive period.

Christmas is a time of happiness, celebration, and connection. But it’s easy to get swept away by the hustle and bustle of the festive period. The countless Christmas plans, celebrations with friends, colleagues, family (whether home or away) can feel overwhelming after a while. The to-do list gets longer, your tiredness levels peak, and let’s face it - the pressure to drink alcohol, if you’re trying to cut down, can be a lot. Before you know it you’re stressed, exhausted, and losing the very essence of the season.

These feelings are only exacerbated if Christmas is already a tough time for you - remembering loved ones, being far away from home. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with.

This is where mindfulness comes in. Think of it as a beacon of serenity - helping you to stay present and embrace the joy that can come with it. Christmas should be a time to relax, slow down, to experience the slowdown, and feel the calmness of it all. It’s ironic - thinking a hectic Christmas period can bring calmness - but it truly can.

Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment, appreciating the sights, sounds, and sensations around us. It's a powerful tool to combat the stress and anxiety that often accompanies the festive season.

One key aspect of mindful holidays is recognising and acknowledging the stressors and taking proactive steps to manage them. Instead of succumbing to the pressure of creating a perfect celebration, focus on the simple pleasures. Prioritise events, meetups with friends and family, and tasks. Delegate responsibilities where you can and be realistic. By setting realistic expectations, you open the door to a more relaxed and enjoyable festive experience.

Mindful breathing is a simple yet effective technique to centre yourself amidst the chaos. Take a few moments each day to practise deep, intentional breaths. Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the air to fill your lungs, then exhale slowly, releasing any tension or worry. This practice not only calms the nervous system but also brings your attention to the present moment.

Another way to infuse mindfulness into your holiday routine is through gratitude exercises. Amidst the rush of preparations, take a moment each day to reflect on the things you're grateful for. It could be beautiful festive food, the laughter of loved ones, or the beauty of twinkling lights. Acknowledging gratitude shifts your focus from what's lacking to the abundance that surrounds you, helping to bring a sense of happiness and contentment.

Mindful eating is also highly relevant during the Christmas season. Rather than mindlessly consuming large quantities of food, savour each bite. Engage your senses—notice the flavours, textures, and aromas. Eating slowly not only enhances your enjoyment of the meal but also allows your body to recognise when it's full, preventing overindulgence.

Technology is highly valuable if your friends and family are far away, but it can also contribute to the holiday frenzy. Consider a digital detox during certain times of the day or on specific days leading up to Christmas. You (hopefully) have a break from constant notifications and updates from work, so consider these in your life also. It allows you to fully engage with the present moment, helping to bring meaningful connections with those around you.

Mindful activities, such as a walk in nature, practising yoga, or engaging in creative interests, can serve as anchors during the festive whirlwind. These moments of intentional relaxation contribute to overall well-being and provide an opportunity to recharge during the festivities.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a daunting and hectic time if you don’t want it to be. There’s ways to slow down, embrace the present, and experience calmness within an incredibly busy period.


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