“In a world full of doing, doing, doing, it’s important to take a moment to just breathe, to just be.”  -Unknown

Oh, the holidays.  Chilly nights, twinkling lights, peppermint delights, and Santa Claus sight…ings.  What’s not to love!  Friends and family come together to feast, give, and enjoy one another’s company.  For many, it truly is a magical time filled with love and laughter.

But with the constant hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season, we are prone to getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and downright depleted.  There are presents to buy and wrap, work projects to finish up, holiday parties and school programs to attend, travel plans to make and take…the to-do list is never-ending.  I won’t tell you to “slow down,” as this may sound to you utterly preposterous.  And I would tend to agree.  However, there are many things we can do to enjoy the season without becoming victim to it.  If we can keep these tips in mind, we can start to shift our mindset from “doing” to “being” and can therefore experience all the beauty that the holidays have to offer.

  1. Remember the true reason for the season.  The presents and parties and goings-on can become a major distraction to this.  Remind yourself that these little celebrations are all in the name of a tiny baby born in a manger in Bethlehem…Jesus, sent to save the souls of man.  This is the greatest gift of all.
  2. Practice gratitude.  When you wake up in the morning, smile.  Take five deep breath cycles, mentally naming one thing you are grateful for with each exhale.  Carry the appreciation you create through this exercise with you throughout your day, maybe giving the exercise a try before bed as well!
  3. Befriend your body.  Give it lots of water, healthy food, sleep, and exercise.  BREATHE.  Your body will repay you in the kindest way, I promise.  Tune in and pay attention when your body tells you it needs rest.  If you can learn to really listen, your body will always tell you what it needs and what it doesn’t.
  4. Learn to say ‘No.”  Please believe me when I say, it is ok if you do not RSVP ‘yes’ to all those invitations.  Sometimes we need to prioritize our schedules so that we can create more time for doing, well, nothing.  Check in with your body and ask yourself, “Which of these do I really want to do and which can I live without?”  And then follow through!
  5. Cultivate mindfulness.  Be present in every moment, noticing how you feel, without placing any judgments or expectations on yourself or on the outcome of the situation.  Note that this is not synonymous with enjoying every moment, because let’s face it…do we really enjoy those shopping mall crowds or when that strand of lights goes kaput?  No.  However, we can still practice awareness and appreciation during these times, and it you look hard enough you may just find a little glimmer of light when it seems as though there is nothing but darkness.  Namaste.