With the holidays coming up, many of us are feeling a swirl of emotions- stress and anxiety about how much there is to do, buy and prepare, grief that we may not get to celebrate with loved ones who are far away or no longer with us, and perhaps increased levels of depression and sadness from the Winter Blues…
Cecily Crow, Mindworx Senior Coach
With the holidays coming up, many of us are feeling a swirl of emotions- stress and anxiety about how much there is to do, buy and prepare, grief that we may not get to celebrate with loved ones who are far away or no longer with us, and perhaps increased levels of depression and sadness from the Winter Blues. Despite that reality, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be “joyful” during this time of year. In theory, all that extra stress is meant to create a holiday to remember- one where we feel connected to our family and friends, present to our children’s joy, and completely unplugged from work. But if you’re like many people, the holidays come and go in a swirl of activity, without any time to pause and appreciate what we have and what we’ve created.
We’ve all heard that Mindfulness can be helpful for fostering more presence and gratitude, as well as decreasing anxiety and stress. But chances are, the last thing you want to add to your plate right now is another to-do item like a morning meditation. Instead, consider trying one of my favorite practices that can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday activities this holiday season.
It’s called “Mindful Transitions” and the concept is to intentionally PAUSE at each moment of transition throughout your day – after breakfast but before you start getting ready; as you get in your car to drive to the store; right after you put your kid down for a nap. Each time there is a transition from one activity to another, rather than just rushing onto the next thing, you pause. Take a deep breath. Look around you, and notice where you are. Pay attention to your senses- the feeling of the cold air on your face, the smell of the trees, the sound of people laughing. Maybe acknowledge something about the activity you just completed, and think about what matters to you about the activity you’re about to begin.
It only needs to take 5-15 seconds, but those short seconds can do so much to help bring us back to what matters, not to mention slowing down the day when things feel hectic and overwhelming.
This can be practiced any time of year, but it’s especially applicable during the holidays, and here’s why. We put SO MUCH energy into preparing for the holiday season- presents, and meal planning, and travel, and squeezing in last minute work around the edges. And then when the days set aside for celebrating arrive, we often rush from one ‘to do’ to the next without appreciating what we’re experiencing.
Take a moment now and just picture what it would be like if, rather than running on autopilot, this holiday season you took those extra few seconds to slow down, connect to your body, acknowledge yourself, and really take in the goodness of what’s happening around you. How might that change things?
And remember, if you struggle during the holiday season, there’s help available. Consider getting more support through therapy or coaching. Contact Mindworx here to learn more.