A letter to
those wanting to find calm and comfort over the Festive period.
of year may be feeling overwhelming, presents to buy, work Christmas events,
family events, beautiful Christmas lights, Christmas music. Christmas music,
Christmas music. You might be thinking if I have to listen to Mariah Carey one
more time I am going to dive straight into the chocolate shelf of the Christmas
isle in Tesco, oh whoops the Toblerone I bought for the father in law has now
been eaten in the car on the way home! Sound familiar? Read on.
thing is, you can look after yourself over Christmas you can focus on self care
and there are ways to be present and joyful without feeling overwhelmed. Its
easy to get swept up in what’s happening but please realise that you need to
make sure your own cup is full first so you can give to others.
simple way to do this is to slow down and appreciate the present moment. Stop
and look at the pretty lights, get out in nature if you can, a great way to
engage the senses. Spot what’s around you, the feel of the breeze on your face,
the festive decorations, the trees losing their leaves and ready to draw in for
the winter. The joy of the coffee or hot chocolate when you come in from the
cold, this is one you can share with family and friends, see how many things
you can spot in nature and then see how creative you can be with the joyful cozy
hot drink as come into the warm. If you are noticing what’s going on around
you, you are being mindful, you’re practicing mindfulness. If you notice the
mind wandering gently bring it back to the present moment.
If you have
a dog think about what the dog might be thinking about on the walk. Is the dog
worried about whether the presents have been bought and if Aunt Mildred will
have enough Sherry this year? No! I know it sounds silly but animals and
children are naturally very mindful…simply tuning in with your senses you can
be too and we know the benefits that mindfulness has on the brain. Not only
reducing our stress and anxiety but helping grow the parts of the brain needed
for productivity and creativity as well as resilience, all useful skills over
the Christmas period and a good start with filling your cup so you don’t go
into it frazzled.
to find your calm is to eat slowly purposefully and mindfully throughout the
festive season. Its been found when we eat mindfully not only do we savor and
enjoy the food more but we are likely to eat less and less fat is even stored
in our bloodstream! Bringing in a sense of gratitude for the food too and
gratitude for what you have at Christmas time, whether it’s a lot or a little.
Grateful for family and friends, grateful for the neighbours Christmas lights
(free joy!). A favourite one for me…grateful for a cup of tea every morning…its
taught Mindfulness to a local group of Brownies last month to get their
Mindfulness badge they taught me so much, I set them a challenge to come up
with 10 things they were grateful for. They went above and beyond, over 17
thing some of them…they reminded me that if you have a roof over your head or
clean water to drink or even the fact you are breathing is something to be
grateful for. Gratitude has huge effects in rewiring the brain for happiness
and productivity, think about how you can tune into it over the festive season,
what are you grateful for right now?
I know you
may be thinking that time with family may be difficult. You don’t have to force
a joyful experience if you are not feeling it, any emotion you are feeling is
valid and its important to express this, write down how you are feeling or draw
a picture to express it and get it out either before guests arrive or during.
If there is a particular person who makes you feel less than joyful, write them
a letter and don’t send it, just use it as the time to get the feelings out,
just make sure you safely burn it or rip it up afterwards!
I usually find if I can do just 10 minutes of
meditation before I start the day this can help get me into a good place for
whatever the day brings. I also find it helps fill my cup if I take a few
minutes away from the busy things and the drama. Just taking 5 minutes to get
outside in the air can make a huge difference and give yourself a break. If you
have a dog, take the dog for a walk, if you have children then take them
outside to see the Christmas lights etc etc…get creative with taking a little
bit of time out or perhaps a walk with the family to help the food go down and
Mindfulness spot festive lights together.
okay to say no and to reduce time spent with people if they don’t fill your
cup. This is something I have had to learn the hard way being a huge people
pleaser in the past and being a natural introvert and a highly sensitive person
in a world of extroverts.
of ways you can fill your cup first other wise it will be empty by the time
Christmas is over. I’ve found that 10 minutes time out to me seems like a good
amount of time but no one else is thinking about where you have gone, people
are thinking of themselves (or the children) usually so do what you need to do.
I think of
it like an outfit, you know when you wear an outfit then you think oh should I
wear that again people have seen that outfit? But when you think about what
everyone else is wearing, unless its something random like a Noel Edmonds
Christmas jumper (no judgement if that is your choice of outfit!) you are
unlikely to remember!! So it’s the same with self-care, do what you need to do,
everyone is different.
So as a
present, tune in with your senses and eat mindfully
a sense of gratitude to whatever you’re doing big or small
okay to say no, its ok to have mini ‘you’ moments, in fact it’s essential and
the likelihood is no one is noticing/judging you.
See if you
can find yourself a Christmas wellbeing buddy to help hold you to account,
tapping into kindness is also a way forward….commit to each other some self-care
and escape activities. You are more likely to put self care first if you have committed
it to someone else and help them by holding them to account too, perhaps its committing
to the 10 minutes of meditation in the morning or a dog walk after Christmas
dinner. Perhaps its texting your wellbeing buddy every day with something you
are grateful for? Think creative here!
would like to learn a Mindfulness habit for life over the festive season, you
can learn my course in your own time, at home or on the go! Perhaps get family
and friends involved in the mindful practices too! Sign up here for my self-led
option with top up support available.