Amidst the annual pressures to purchase piles of presents, decorate every orifice of your office or home, manage a social schedule that keeps everyone happy, and still leave enough time for the pursuit of the perfect mince pie… It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger-picture point of what this time of year is all about and end up super stressed.
Thankfully you don’t have to wait for the Three Wise Men to come knocking at your door to get the advice you need to enjoy a fabulous festive period free from stress. You just need to be more mindful with the help of these three top tips.
1. REDUCE THE RUSH BY BEING MINDFUL OF THE MOMENT
Time tends to feel limited and stress-levels rise when we stop focusing on what we are doing now and get caught up over thinking about all the things that need done later. The reality is you can only ever do one thing at a time. Through being present by giving all of your attention to whatever you are doing, right now, you will naturally end up even more effective and efficient.
Focus on the task in hand by being mindful of your senses. Notice what you can currently see, tune into the sounds you are hearing and fully feel whatever you are touching. Wrap each present without giving much thought to the pile waiting in the sidelines. Properly feel the spoon in your hand as you stir the gravy. Notice the colours of the pretty Christmas lights that are passing by as you drive to the shops or your next social engagement.
In essence, fully engage the present moment reality of whatever is occurring in the immediate here and now. You’ll be amazed by how time appears to stretch, you get so much more done, with very little stress and much more enjoyment.
2. AIM FOR AGREEMENT IF ARGUMENTS ARISE
Whether it is the best way to baste the Turkey, the precise timing for the opening of presents or what to watch on the box. Things can quickly become heated and we all want to avoid the family fighting out their differences by brandishing the nearest luxury cracker.
Arguments usually happen because we are disagreeing on the finer details and forgetting to find the collective consensus. If you sense an argument arising, you want to be a calming influence by remaining mindful of the common ground. This can be done by rising above the details and recognizing the bigger picture preference of everyone enjoying what they eat, getting along and having fun.
Yes, there are multiple ways to cook the bird. But what matters most is it’s cooked properly and the family doesn’t spend the following week frequenting the toilet with food poisoning. Yes, you may want to watch a particular programme. But isn’t it more pleasant to use some of your festive spirit to relinquish control of the remote? I promise the positive paybacks are far more rewarding than getting your own way. (Besides, there’s always iPlayer later.)
3. TAKE A TIME-OUT FROM ALL THE TINSEL
Just because you love them, it doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment in their company. Silence is golden after all and giving yourself the gift of a few minutes time-out can work wonders not only for your serenity, but your sanity too. Find a quiet place in the house, sit down, close your eyes and have a few moments of meditation.
Begin by taking a few mindful breaths by noticing the feel of the air as it flows in and out of your nose. Continue meditating by being gently alert with your attention wide and open. Get a sense of the space in the room where you are residing. Be attentive to the silence that any sounds are occurring within.
Even 5-10 minutes of sitting still, breathing in a balanced way and gently exploring the stillness of the space surrounding you, can help you to hit the re-set button and return to proceedings with more calm and Christmas cheer.
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