The holidays are quickly approaching! Are you stressed? Excited? Both? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This time of year can get pretty busy and it’s easy to get swept up in all the hustle and bustle. That’s why it’s the perfect time to be intentional with your mindfulness practice. Not quite sure how to do that? You’re in luck! We have a Mindfulness Holiday Challenge just for you.
Below is an outline of mindfulness activities to do each day for five days. The idea is to focus on one thing at a time and try to implement it into your daily life. You can start this challenge any time and repeat it as necessary!
As your to-do list and party schedule ramp up, you will probably find yourself going non-stop. It can be overwhelming and easily lead to burnout. That’s why it’s so important to take regular time outs to just be still. This goes for the body AND the mind.
- Find a quiet place to sit. If you are pressed for time, set a timer for 5 minutes (just make sure the alarm is something calm and low volume).
- Take a deep breath in and relax as you slowly exhale. Close your eyes. Mentally scan your body from head to toe, relaxing each body part as you go. Continue to take slow inhales and exhales.
- As you begin to physically relax, try to mentally relax as well. Let go of your to-do list or whatever is on the agenda for the day.
- Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing for these few moments.
- When the time is up, slowly bat your eyes open, take one last super deep inhale, smile, and exhale.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Stress
It might go without saying, but flying by the seat of your pants can be stressful! You’ll end up running to the store last minute at least 50 times and still forget the secret Santa gift for your work party. Getting organized might not seem like a mindfulness practice, but planning ahead means less stress and more time to really be present and enjoy. Which is ultimately our goal, right?
- Brain Dump: pull out a sheet of paper and write down everything you need to do. This includes parties, goodies you need to make, gifts to buy, etc. Don’t worry about organizing the list, just get it all down on paper.
- Weekly Overview: take each event or task that you wrote down and put it on your weekly calendar so that everything has a date and time to be done.
- Daily Details: if you want to take it one step further, create a daily to-do list from your weekly overview. It’s easier to stay focused each day without getting overwhelmed by looking at the whole week.
- Shopping List: write down all of the items you’ll need to purchase for each event, gift, etc. Make sure to schedule time in your week to go shopping!
Don’t Forget Self-Care
Now that you have everything down on your calendar and to-do lists, go back and find time for yourself. Taking time for self-care is such an important part of living a mindful lifestyle. It will help you release stress, feel more connected with yourself, and be more present in each moment. When you tend to yourself, you are in turn, better able to tend to those around you.
- Make a list of your favorite self-care activities (taking a warm bath, reading, drinking tea, etc.)
- Pull out that weekly calendar and find a pocket of time each day for self-care.
- Write down one specific activity to do in that time-slot each day.
Learn to Let Go
We all have expectations for the holidays. All too often, we are disappointed when things don’t turn out exactly how we wanted them to. But when you learn to let go of those expectations and to be present with what is, the stress of the holidays starts to disappear. You begin to appreciate the way the holidays unfold on their own. And you are able to be fully present in the moment.
- Grab a journal (or any notebook or scratch paper).
- Write down your thoughts and answers to these questions:
- What expectations or visions for the holidays am I holding tightly to right now?
- Why am I holding on to them?
- How can I let go of those expectations and be more present with what is?
- What is holding me back from doing that?
Mindfulness is the act of being present and aware of what is. There’s no better way to tap into that than gratitude. It forces you to pause and consider all that is good around you at this moment. Gratitude is also a powerful tool when you start feeling overwhelmed. Pause, consider all that you’re grateful for in the moment, and begin to let go of whatever is stressing you out.
- Grab that journal and start a gratitude list.
- Schedule time to write your gratitude list each day (right before bed is a great time for reflection!)
- Option: make this into a family activity and create a gratitude list together each night.
- Challenge yourself to keep this practice going all season long (or even all year long).
These five mindfulness activities will help you navigate the holiday season with a sense of peace and calm so that you can enjoy each moment and be fully present for yourself, friends, and family. Repeat any or all of these activities as you move through the season and feel free to get your loved ones on board with you! Enjoy the season. Enjoy the moment.