Amidst the annual pressures to purchase piles of presents, decorate every orifice of your home or office, 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 end up super stressed and lose sight of the bigger-picture point of what this time of year is all about.
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 the festivities - free from stress! You just need to be more mindful with these three top tips.
1. REDUCE THE RUSH : BE 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 other 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 naturally end up even more effective and efficient and enjoy the whole experience.
Focus on the task in hand by being mindful of your senses. Really look and listen and tune into what you are touching. Wrap each present without giving any 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 Christmas lights that are passing by as you drive to the shops or your next social engagement.
In essence, fully engage the reality of what is occurring in the immediate here and now. You’ll be amazed by how time has a magical way of stretching and how you get so much more done - with very little stress.
2. IF ARGUMENTS ARISE : AIM FOR AGREEMENT
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 seeing the bigger picture preference of everyone enjoying what they eat, getting along great and having lots of 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 few days frequenting the toilet with food poisoning. Yes, you may want to watch a particular programme. But isn’t it more pleasant to muster some festive spirit to relinquish control of the remote? I promise the positive paybacks are more rewarding than getting your own way. (Besides, there’s always iPlayer later.)
3. IF IT'S ALL TOO MUCH : TAKE A TIME-OUT FROM 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, 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 and give yourself the gift of being present for a while. I recommend doing any of the Free Guided Meditations available on my website whenever you get a chance.
Even 5-10 minutes of sitting still, breathing in a balanced way and exploring the inner stillness can help you to hit the re-set button and return to proceedings with more calm and Christmas cheer.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Mindful Christmas! Sandy x
Sandy C. Newbigging is a coaching and meditation expert, award-winning speaker, bestselling author and creator of Calmology.
Sandy has meditated for thousands of hours and done thousands of hours of clinical practice using his Calmology techniques. Giving him a unique ability to help people get to the heart of their issues to 'heal the hidden cause' and experience 'peace with life' via his easy-to-use and understand teachings and techniques.